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By RODRIGUES OTTOLENGUI 



An Artist in Crime. i6°, $i.oo ; 
paper, 50 cts. 

A Conflict of Evidence. 16°, $1.00 ; 
paper, 50 cts. 

A Modern Wizard. 16°, $1.00 ; 
paper, sects. 

The Crime of the Century. 16°, 
$1.00; paper, soots. 

Final Proof, or, the Value of Evi- 
dence. 16", $1.00 ; paper, so cts. 



G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 

NEW YORK & LONDON 



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FINAL PROOF 



OR 



THE VALUE OF EVIDENCE 



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8,, ^ AUTHOR OP "an artist IN CRIME," " A CONFLICT OP EVIDENCE*' 
jj ZJ THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY, ETC. 



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Mercantile Library 

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G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 
NEW YORK AND LONDON 

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THE liEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 

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A8T0H, LENOX AND 

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Copyright, 1898 

BY 

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 
Entered at Sutioners' Hall, London 



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PREFATORY 

The first meeting between Mr. Barnes, the detec- 
tive, and Robert Leroy Mitchel, the gentleman who 
imagines himself to be able to outdo detectives in 
their own line of work, was fully set forth in the 
narrative entitled An Artist in Crime, Subsequently 
the two men occupied themselves with the solution 
of a startling murder mystery, the details of which 
were recorded in The Crime of the Century, The 
present volume contains the history of several cases 
which attracted their attention in the interval be- 
tween those already given to the world, the first 
having occured shortly after the termination of the 
events in An Artist in Crime, and the others in the 
order here given, so that in a sense these stories are 
continuous and interdependent. 

R. O. 



••• 
111 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 
I 

The Phcenix of Crime i 

II 
The Missing Link 132 

III 
The Nameless Man 151 

IV 
The Montezuma Emerald 169 

V 

A Singular Abduction 189 

VI 
The Aztec Opal . • 210 

VII 
The Duplicate Harlequin 230 

VIII 
The Pearls of Isis 261 

V 



vi Contents 

PAGE 

IX 

A Promissory Note ...... 294 

X 

A Novel Forgery 325 

XI 
A Frosty Morning 341 

XII 
A Shadow of Proof 365 



FINAL PROOF 

OR 

THE VALUE OF EVIDENCE 



^ 



Mercantiie Library 

NEW YORK, 

FINAL PROOF 



I 



THE PHCENIX OF CRIME 



Mr. Mitchel was still at breakfast one morning, 
when the card of Mr. Barnes was brought to him by 
his man Williams. 

" Show Mr. Barnes in here/* said he. ** I imagine 
that he must be in a hurry to see me, else he would 
not call so early. * ' 

A few minutes later the detective entered, saying : 

** It is very kind of you to let me come in without 
waiting. I hope that I am not intruding.'* 

** Not at all. As to being kind, why I am kind 
to myself. I knew you must have something in- 
teresting on hand to bring you around so early, and 
I am proportionately curious; at the same time I 
hate to go without my cofifee, and I do not like to 
drink it too fast, especially good cofifee, and this is 
good, I assure you. Draw up and have a cup, for 
I observe that you came off in such a hurry this 
morning that you did not get any." 



2 The Phoenix of Crime 

" Why, thank you, I will take some, but how do 
you know that I came off in a hurry and had no 
coffee at home ? It seems to me that if you can 
tell that, you are becoming as clever as the famous 
Sherlock Holmes/' 

" Oh, no, indeed! You and I can hardly ex- 
pect to be as shrewd as the detectives of romance. 
As to my guessing that you have had no coffee, that 
is not very troublesome. I notice three drops of 
milk on your coat, and one on your shoe, from 
which I deduce, first, that you have had no coffee, 
for a man who has his coffee in the morning is 
not apt to drink a glass of milk besides. Second, 
you must have left home in a hurry, or you would 
have had that coffee. Third, you took your glass 
of milk at the ferry-house of the Staten Island boat, 
probably finding that you had a minute to spare; 
this is evident because the milk spots on the tails of 
your frock-coat and on your shoe show that you 
were standing when you drank, and leaned over 
to avoid dripping the fluid on your clothes. Had 
you been seated, the coat tails would have been 
spread apart, and drippings would have fallen on 
your trousers. The fact that in spite of your pre- 
cautions the accident did occur, and yet escaped 
your notice, is further proof, not only of your hurry, 
but also that your mind was abstracted, — absorbed 
no doubt with the difficult problem about which you 
have come to talk with me. How is my guess ? '' 

** Correct in every detail. Sherlock Holmes could 
have done no better. But we will drop him and get 



The Phoenix of Crime 3 

down to my case, which, I assure you, is more as- 
tounding than any, either in fact or fiction, that has 
come to my knowledge." 

" Go ahead! Your opening argument promises a 
good play. Proceed without further waste of words. * ' 

** First, then, let me ask you, have you read the 
morning's papers ? ** 

*' Just glanced through the death reports, but had 
gotten no further when you came in.*' 

" There is one death report, then, that has escaped 
your attention, probably because the notice of it 
occupies three columns. It is another metropolitan 
mystery. Shall I read it to you ? I glanced through 
it in bed this morning and found it so absorbing 
that, as you guessed, I hurried over here to discuss 
it with you, not stopping to get my breakfast.'* 

" In that case you might better attack an egg or 
two, and let me read the article myself.*' 

Mr. Mitchel took the paper from Mr. Barnes, who 
pointed out to him the article in question, which, 
under appropriate sensational headlines, read as 
follows : 

" The account of a most astounding mystery is re- 
ported to-day for the first time, though the body of 
the deceased, now thought to have been murdered, 
was taken from the East River several days ago. 
The facts are as follows. On Tuesday last, at about 
six o'clock in the morning, several boys were enjoy- 
ing an early swim in the river near Eighty-fifth 
Street, when one who had made a deep dive, on 



V 

^ 



4 The Phoenix of Crime 

reaching the surface scrambled out of the water, 
evidently terrified. His companions crowded about 
him asking what he had seen, and to them he de- 
clared that there was a * drownded man down there. ' 
This caused the boys to lose all further desire to go 
into the water, and while they hastily scrambled into 
their clothes they discussed the situation, finally de- 
ciding that the proper course would be to notify the 
police, one boy, however, wiser than the others, 
declaring that he * washed his hands of the affair * if 
they should do so, because he was not * going to be 
held as no witness.' In true American fashion, 
nevertheless, the majority ruled, and in a body the 
boys marched to the station-house and reported 
their discovery. Detectives were sent to investi- 
gate, and after dragging the locality for half an hour 
the body of a man was drawn out of the water. The 
corpse was taken to the Morgue, and the customary 
red tape was slowly unwound. . At first the police 
thought that it was a case of accidental drowning, 
no marks of violence having been found on the body, 
which had evidently been in the water but a few 
hours. Thus no special report of the case was made 
in the press. Circumstances have developed at the 
autopsy, however, which make it probable that New 
Yorkers are to be treated to another of the wonder- 
ful mysteries which occur all too frequently in the 
metropolis. The first point of significance is the 
fact, on which all the surgeons agree, that the man 
was dead when placed in the water. Secondly, the 
^octprs claim that he died of disease, and not from 



The Phoenix of Crime 5 

any cause which would point to a crime. This con- 
clusion seems highly improbable, for who would 
throw into the water the body of one who had died 
naturally, and with what object could such a singu- 
lar course have been pursued ? Indeed this claim of 
the doctors is so preposterous that a second examin- 
ation of the body has been ordered, and will occur 
to-day, when several of our most prominent surgeons 
will be present. The third, and by far the most 
extraordinary circumstance, is the alleged identifica- 
tion of the corpse. It seems that one of the sur- 
geons officiating at the first autopsy was attracted 
by a peculiar mark upon the face of the corpse. At 
first it was thought that this was merely a bruise 
caused by something striking the body while in the 
water, but a closer examination proved it to be a 
skin disease known as * lichen./ It appears that 
there are several varieties of this disease, some of 
which are quite well known. That found on the 
face of the corpse, however, is a very rare form, only 
two other cases having been recorded in this country. 
This is a fact of the highest importance in relation 
to the events which have followed. Not unnatur- 
ally, the doctors became greatly interested. One of 
these. Dr. Elliot, the young surgeon who first ex- 
amined it closely, having never seen any examples 
of lichen before, spoke of it that evening at a meet- 
ing of his medical society. Having looked up the 
literature relating to the disease in the interval, he 
was enabled to give the technical name of this very 
rare form of the disease. At this, another physician 



6 The Phoenix of Crime 

present arose, and declared that it seemed to him a 
most extraordinary coincidence that this case had 
been reported, for he himself had recently treated 
an exactly similar condition for a patient who had 
finally died, his death having occurred within a 
week. A lengthy and of course very technical 
discussion ensued, with the result that Dr. Morti- 
mer, the physician who had treated the case of the 
patient who had so recently died, arranged with Dr. 
Elliot to go with him on the following day and 
examine the body at the Morgue. This he did, 
and, to the great amazement of his colleague, he 
then declared J that the body bei«»re him was none 
other than that of his own patient, supposed to have 
been buried. When the authorities learned of this, 
they summoned the family of the deceased, two 
brothers and the widow. All of these persons 
viewed the corpse separately, and each declared 
most emphatically that it was the body of the man 
whose funeral they had followed. Under ordinary 
circumstances, so complete an identification of a 
body would leave no room for doubt, but what is to 
be thought when we are informed by the family and 
friends of the deceased that the corpse had been 
cremated ? That the mourners had seen the coffin 
containing the body placed in the furnace, and had 
waited patiently during the incineration ? And 
that later the ashes of the dear departed had been 
delivered to them, to be finally deposited in an urn 
in the family vault, where it still is with contents 
undisturbed ? It does not lessen the mystery to 



The Phoenix of Crime 7 

know that the body in the Morgue (or the ashes at 
the cemetery) represents all that is left of one of our 
most esteemed citizens, Mr. Rufus Quadrant, a 
gentleman who in life enjoyed that share of wealth 
which made it possible for him to connect his name 
with so many charities ; a gentleman whose family 
in the past and in the present has ever been and 
still is above the breath of suspicion. Evidently 
there is a mystery that will try the skill of our very 
best detectives." 

" That last line reads like a challenge to the 
gentlemen of your profession,*' said Mr. Mitchel to 
Mr. Barnes as he put down the paper. 

** I needed no such spur to urge me to undertake 
to unravel this case, which certainly has most aston- 
ishing features. 

'* Suppose we enumerate the important data and 
discover what reliable deduction may be made 
therefrom.** 

** That is what I have done a dozen times, with 
no very satisfactory result. First, we learn that 
a man is found in the river upon whose face there 
is a curious distinguishing mark in the form of 
one of the rarest of skin diseases. Second, a man 
has recently died who was similarly aflflicted. The 
attending physician declares upon examination that 
the body taken from the river is the body of his 
patient. Third, the family agree that this identi- 
fication is correct. Fourth, this second dead man 
was cremated. Query, how can a man's body be 



it 
tt 



8 The Phoenix of Crime 

cremated, and then be found whole in the river 
subsequently ? No such thing has been related in 
fact or fiction since the beginning of the world/' 
Not so fast, Mr. Barnes. What of the Phoenix? ** 
Why, the living young Phoenix arose from the 
ashes of his dead ancestor. But here we have seem- 
ingly a dead body re-forming from its own ashes, the 
ashes meanwhile remaining intact and unaltered. 
A manifest impossibility.'* 

" Ah; then we arrive at our first reliable deduc- 
tion, Mr. Barnes.*' 

"Which is?" 

** Which is that, despite the doctors, we have two 
bodies to deal with. The ashes in the vault repre- 
sent one, while the body at the Morgue is another." 

" Of course. So much is apparent, but you say 
the body at the Morgue is another, and I ask you, 
which other ? " 

** That we must learn. As you appear to be 
seeking my views in this case I will give them to 
you, though of course I have nothing but this news- 
paper account, which may be inaccurate. Having 
concluded beyond all question that there are two 
bodies in this case, our first effort must be to deter- 
mine which is which. That is to say, we must dis- 
cover whether this man, Rufus Quadrant, was really 
cremated, which certainly ought to be the case, or 
whether, by some means, another body has been 
exchanged for his, by accident or by design, and if 
so, whose body that was. * * 

" If it turns out that the body at the Morgue is 



The Phoenix of Crime 9 

really that of Mr. Quadrant, then, of course, as 
you say, some other man's body was cremated, 

and " 

'* Why may it not have been a woman's ? ** 
** You are right, and that only makes the point 
to which I was about to call your attention more 
forcible. If an unknown body has been incinerated, 
how can we ever identify it ? * ' 

** I do not know. But we have not arrived at 
that bridge yet. The first step is to reach a final 
conclusion in regard to the body at the Morgue. 
There are several things to be inquired into, there.*' 
** I wish you would enumerate them." 
** With pleasure. First, the autopsy is said to 
have shown that the man died a natural death, that 
is, that disease, and not one of his fellow-beings, 
killed him. What disease was this, and was it the 
same as that which caused the death of Mr. Quad- 
rant ? If the coroner's physicians declared what 
disease killed the man, and named the same as that 
which carried off Mr. Quadrant, remembering that 
the body before them was unknown, we would have 
a strong corroboration of the alleged identification." 
** Very true. That will be easily learned." 
** Next, as to this lichen. I should think it im- 
portant to know more of that. Is it because the two 
cases are examples of the same rare variety of the 
disease, or was there something so distinct about 
the location and area or shape of the diseased sur- 
face, that the doctor could not possibly be mistaken? 
— for doctors do make mistakes, you know/' 



lo The Phoenix of Crime 

" Yes, just as detectives do/' said Mr. Barnes, 
smiling, as he made notes of Mr. MitcheFs sugges- 
tions. 

** If you learn that the cause of death was the 
same, and that the licheij was not merely similar but 
identical, I should think that there could be little 
reason for longer doubting^ the identification. But 
if not fully satisfied by your inquiries along these 
lines, then it might be well to see the family of Mr. 
Quadrant, and inquire whether they too depend 
upon this lichen as the only means of identification, 
or whether, entirely aside from that diseased spot, 
they would be able to swear that the body at the 
Morgue is their relative. You would have in con- 
nection with this inquiry an opportunity to ask 
many discreet questions which might be of assistance 
to you." 

"All of this is in relation to establishing beyond a 
doubt the identity of the body at the Morgue, and 
of course the work to that end will . practically be 
simple. In my own mind I have no doubt that the 
body of Mr. Quadrant is the one found in the water. 
Of course, as you suggest, it will be as well to know 
this rather than merely to think it. But once know- 
ing it, what then of the body which is now ashes ? ** 

** We must identify that also.** 

** Identify ashes! '* exclaimed Mr. Barnes. ** Not 
an easy task." 

*' If all tasks were easy, Mr. Barnes," said Mr. 
Mitchel, *' we should have little need of talent such 
as yours. Suppose you follow my advice, provided 



The Phoenix of Crime ii 

you intend to accept it, as far as I have indicated, 
and then report to mc the results." 

** I will do so with pleasure. I do not think it 
will occupy much time. Perhaps by luncheon, 
I " 

** You could get back here and join me. Do 
so!" 

** In the meanwhile shall you do any — any inves- 
tigating ? " 

** I shall do considerable thinking. I will cogitate 
as to the possibility of a Phoenix arising from those 
ashes. 



tt 



II 



Leaving Mr. Mitchel, Mr. Barnes went directly 
to the office of Dr. Mortimer, and after waiting 
nearly an hour was finally ushered into the consult- 
ing-room. 

" Dr. Mortimer," said Mr. Barnes, ** I have 
called in relation to this remarkable case of Mr. 
Quadrant. I am a detective, and the extraordinary 
nature of the facts thus far published attracts me 
powerfully, so that, though not connected with the 
regular police, I am most anxious to unravel this 
mystery if possible, though, of course, I should do 
nothing that would interfere with the regular officers 
of the law. I have called, hoping that you might 
be willing to answer a few questions." 

/* I think I have heard of you, Mr. Barnes, and if, 
as you say, you will do nothing to interfere with 



( 



12 The Phoenix of Crime 

justice, I have no objection to telling you what I 
know, though I fear it is little enough. 

** I thank you, Doctor, for your confidence, which, 
I assure you, you shall not regret. In the first place, 
then, I would like to ask you about this identification. 
The newspaper account states that you have de- 
pended upon some skin disease. Is that of such a 
nature that you can be absolutely certain in your 
opinion ? ** 

** I think so,** said the doctor. ** But then, as 
you must have found in your long experience, all 
identifications of the dead should be accepted with 
a little doubt. Death alters the appearance of every 
part of the body, and especially the face. We think 
that we know a man by the contour of his face, 
whereas we often depend, during life, upon the 
habitual expressions which the face ever carries. 
For example, suppose that we know a young girl, 
full of life and happiness, with a sunny disposition 
undimmed by care or the world's worry. She is* 
ever smiling, or ready to smile. Thus we know her. 
Let that girl suffer a sudden and perhaps painful 
death. In terror and agony as she dies, the features 
are distorted, and in death the resultant expression 
is somewhat stamped upon the features. Let that 
body lie in the water for a time, and when recovered 
it is doubtful whether all of her friends would iden- 
tify her. Some would, but others would with equal 
positiveness declare that these were mistaken. Yet 
you observe the physical contours would still be 
present." 



The Phoenix of Grime 13 

** I am pleased, Doctor, by what you say," said 
Mr. Barnes, ** because with such appreciation of the 
changes caused by death and exposure in the water, 
I must lay greater reliance upon your identification. 
In this case, as I understand it, there is something 
peculiar about the body, a mark of disease called 
lichen, I believe ? * * 

** Yes. But what I have said about the changes 
caused by death must have weight here also,** said 
the doctor. ** You see I am giving you all the 
points that may militate against my identification, 
that you may the better judge of its correctness. 
We must not forget that we are dealing with a dis- 
ease of very great rarity^; so rare, in fact, that this 
very case is the only one that I have ever seen. 
Consequently I cannot claim to be perfectly familiar 
with the appearance of surfaces attacked by this dis- 
ease, after they have suffered the possible alterations 
of death.** 

' * Then you mean that, after all, this spot upon 
which the identification rests does not now look as 
it did in life?** 

"I might answer both yes and no to that. 
Changes have occurred, but they do not, in my 
opinion, prevent me from recognizing both the dis- 
ease and the corpse. To fully explain this I must 
tell you something of the disease itself, if you will 
not be bored ? * * 

** Not at all. Indeed, I prefer to know all that 
you can make intelligible to a layman." 

*' I will use simple language. Formerly a great 



14 The Phoenix of Crime 

number of skin diseases were grouped under the 
general term * lichen,* which included all growths 
which might be considered fungoid. At the present 
time we are fairly well able to separate the animal 
from the vegetable parasitic diseases, and under the 
term * lichen ' we include very few forms. The most 
common is lichen planus^ which unfortunately is not 
infrequently met, and is therefore very well under- 
stood by the specialists. Lichen ruber y however, is 
quite distinct. It was first described by the Ger- 
man, Hebra, and has been sufficiently common in 
Europe to enable the students to thoroughly well 
describe it. In this country, however, it seems to 
be one of the rarest of diseases. White of Boston 
reported a case, and Fox records another, accom- 
panied by a colored photograph, which, of course, 
aids greatly in enabling any one to recognize a case 
should it occur. There is one more fact to which I 
must allude as having an important bearing upon 
my identification. Lichen ruber y like other lichens, 
is not confined to any one part of the body ; on the 
contrary, it would be remarkable, should the disease 
be uncontrolled for any length of time, not to see it 
in many places. This brings me to my point. The 
seat of the disease, in the case of Mr. Quadrant, was 
the left cheek, where a most disfiguring spot ap- 
peared. It happened that I was in constant attend- 
ance upon Mr. Quadrant for the trouble which 
finally caused his decease, and therefore I saw this 
lichen in its incipiency, and more fortunately I 
recognized its true nature. Now whether due to my 



The Phoenix of Crime 15 

treatment or not, it is a fact that the disease did not 
spread ; that is to say, it did not appear elsewhere 
upon the body." 

** I see! I see! ** said Mr. Barnes, much pleased. 
** This is an important point. For if the body at 
the Morgue exhibits a spot in that exact locality 
and nowhere else, and if it is positively this same 
skin disease, it is past belief that it should be any 
other than the body of your patient." 

** So I argue. That two such unique examples of 
so rare a disease should occur at the same time 
seems incredible, though remotely possible. Thus, 
as you have indicated, we have but to show that the 
mark on the body at the Morgue is truly caused by 
this disease, and not by some abrasion while in the 
water, in order to make our opinion fairly tenable. 
Both Dr. Elliot and myself have closely examined 
the spot, and we have agreed that it is not an abra- 
sion. Had the face been thus marked in the water, 
we should find the cuticle rubbed off, which is not 
the case. Contrarily, in the disease under considera- 
tion, the cuticle, though involved in the disease, and 
even missing in minute spots, is practically present. 
No, I am convinced that the mark on the body at 
the Morgue existed in life as the result of this 
lichen, though the alteration of color since death 
gives us a much changed appearance." 

** Then I may consider that you are confident that 
this mark on the body is of the same shape, in the 
same position, and caused by the same disease as 
that which you observed upon Mr. Quadrant ? " 



1 6 The Phoenix of Crime 

'* Yes. I do not hesitate to assert that. To this 
you may add that I identify the body in a general 
way also. ' ' 

** By which you mean ? ** 

** That without this mark, basing my opinion 
merely upon my long acquaintance with the man, I 
would be ready to declare that Mr. Quadrant's body 
is the one which was taken from the water." 

** What, then, is your opinion as to how this 
strange occurrence has come about ? If Mr. Quad- 
rant was cremated, how could ** 

** It could not, of course. This is not the age of 
miracles. Mr. Quadrant was not cremated. Of 
that we may be certain.'* 

'* But the family claim that they saw his body 
consigned to the furnace." 

'* The family believe this, I have no doubt. But 
how could they be sure ? Let us be accurate in 
considering what we call facts. What did the family 
see at the crematory ? They saw a closed coffin 
placed into the furnace." 

'* A coffin, though, which contained the body of 
their relative. ' ' 

Mr. Barnes did not of course himself believe this, 
but made the remark merely to lead the doctor on. 

** Again you are inaccurate. Let us rather say a 
coffin which once contained the body of their rela- 
tive." 

** Ah; then you think that it was taken from 
the coffin and another substituted for it ? " 

*' No. I do not go so far. I think, nay, I am 



The Phoenix of Crime 17 

sure, that Mr. Quadrant's body was taken from the 
coffin, but whether another was substituted for it, is 
a question. The coffin may have been empty when 
burned." 

" Could we settle that point by an examination of 
the ashes ? " 

The doctor started as though surprised at the 
question. After a little thought he replied hesitat- 
ingly : 

** Perhaps. It seems doubtful. Ashes from bone 
and animal matter would, I suppose, bring us chem- 
ical results different from those of burned wood. 
Whether our analytical chemists could solve such a 
problem remains to be seen. Ordinarily one would 
think that ashes would resist all efforts at identifica- 
tion." The doctor seemed lost in thoughtful con- 
sideration of this scientific problem. 

** The trimmings of the coffin might contain 
animal matter if made of wool," suggested Mr. 
Barnes. 

** True; that would certainly complicate the work 
of the chemist, and throw doubt upon his reported 
results." 

** You admitted. Doctor, that the body was placed 
in the coffin. Do you know that positively ? " 

** Yes. I called on the widow on the night pre- 
vious to the funeral, and the body was then in the 
coffin. I saw it in company with the widow and 
the two brothers. It was then that it was decided 
that the coffin should be closed and not opened 
again. ' * 



1 8 . The Phoenix of Crime 

** Whose wish was this ? " 

** The widow's. You may well understand that 
this lichen greatly disfigured Mr. Quadrant, and 
that he was extremely sensitive about it. So much 
so that he had not allowed any one to see him for 
many weeks prior to his death. It was in deference 
to this that the widow expressed the wish that no 
one but the immediate family should see him in his 
coffin. For this reason also she stipulated that the 
coffin should be burned with the body." 

** You say this was decided on the night before 
the funeral ? *' 

** Yes. To be accurate, about five o'clock in the 
afternoon, though at this season and in the closed 
rooms the lamps were already lighted." 

** Was this known to many persons ? That is, 
that the coffin was not again to be opened ? ' ' 

" It was known of course to the two brothers, and 
also to the undertaker and two of his assistants wha 
were present." 

** The undertaker himself closed the casket, I 
presume ? ' ' 

** Yes. He was closing it as I escorted the widow 
back to her own room." 

** Did the brothers leave the room with you ? " 

** I think so. Yes, I am sure of it." 

** So that the body was left with the undertaker 
and his men, after they knew that it was not to be 
opened again ? 
Yes. 
Did these men leave before you did ? 



» » 
am r 

**Yes." 

n TM J -1 _^ I t r _ . JiJ •% ** 



The Phoenix of Crime 19 

** No. I left almost immediately after taking the 
widow to her own room and seeing her comfortably 
lying down, apparently recovered from the hysteri- 
cal spell which I had been summoned to check. 
You know, of course, that the Quadrant residence is 
but a block from here. * * 

*' There is one more point, Doctor. Of what 
disease did Mr. Quadrant die ? ** 

" My diagnosis was what in common parlance I 
may call cancer of the stomach. This, of course, 
I only knew from the symptoms. That is to say, 
there had been no operation, as the patient was 
strenuously opposed to such a procedure. He re- 
peatedly said to me, * I would rather die than be 
cut up.' A strange prejudice in these days of suc- 
cessful surgery, when the knife in skilful hands 
promises so much more than medication." 

'* Still these symptoms were sufficient in your 
own mind to satisfy you that your diagnosis was 
accurate ? " 

'* I can only say in reply that I have frequently 
in the presence of similar symptoms performed an 
operation, and always with the same result. The 
cancer was always present.*' 

*' Now the coroner's autopsy on the body at the 
Morgue is said to have shown that death was due to 
disease. Do you know what they discovered ? " 

*' Dr. Elliot told me that it was cancer of the 
stomach." 

" Why, then, the identification seems absolute? " 

'* So it seems. Yes." 



20 The Phoenix of Crime 

III 

Mr. Barnes next called at the home of the 
Quadrants, and was informed that both of the 
gentlemen were out. With some hesitation he sent 
a brief note in to the widow, explaining his purpose 
and asking for an interview. To his gratification 
his request was granted, and he was shown up to 
that lady's reception-room. 

** I fear, madame,'* said he, " that my visit may 
seem an intrusion, but I take the deepest sort of in- 
terest in this sad affair of your husband, and I would 
much appreciate having your permission and author- 
ity to investigate it, with the hope of discovering 
the wrong-doers." 

** I see by your note,*' said Mrs. Quadrant in a 
low, sad voice, *' that you are a detective, but not 
connected with the police. That is why I have de- 
cided to see you. I have declined to see the regular 
detective sent here by the police, though my hus- 
band's brothers, I believe, have answered all his 
questions. But as for myself, I felt that I could 
not place this matter in the hands of men whom 
my husband always distrusted. Perhaps his preju- 
dice was due to his politics, but he frequently de- 
clared that our police force was corrupt. Thus you 
understand why I am really glad that you have 
called, for I am anxious, nay, determined, to dis- 
cover if possible who it was who has done me this 
grievous wrong. To think that my poor husband 
was there in the river, when I thought that his body 
had been duly disposed of. It is horrible, horrible ! " 



The Phoenix of Crime 21 

** It is indeed horrible, madame," said Mr. 
Barnes sympathizingly. ** But we must find the 
guilty person or persons and bring them to justice." 

** Yes! That is what I wish. That is what I am 
ready to pay any sum to accomplish. You must 
not consider you are working, as you courteously 
offer, merely to satisfy your professional interest in 
a mysterious case. I wish you to undertake this as 
my special agent." 

" As you please, madame, but in that case I must 
make one condition. I would ask that you tell this 
to no one unless I find it necessary. At present I 
think I can do better if I am merely regarded as a 
busybody detective attracted by an odd case." 

** Why, certainly, no one need know. Now tell 
me what you think of this matter." 

" Well, it is rather early to formulate an opinion. 
An opinion is dangerous. One is so apt to endeavor 
to prove himself right, whereas he ought merely to 
seek out the truth. But if you have any opinion, it 
is necessary for me to know it. Therefore I must 
answer you by asking the very question which you 
have asked me. What do you think ? " 

*' I think that some one took the body of my hus- 
band from the coffin, and that we burned an empty 
casket. But to guess what motive there could be 
for such an act would be beyond my mental abili- 
ties. I have thought about it till my head has 
ached, but I can find no reason for such an un- 
reasonable act." 

*' Let me then suggest one to you, and then per- 



22 The Phoenix of Crime 

haps your opinion may be more useful. Suppose 
that some person, some one who had the opportun- 
ity, had committed a murder. By removing the 
body of your husband, and replacing it with that of 
his victim, the evidences of his own crime would be 
concealed. The discovery of your husband's body, 
even if identified, as it has been, could lead to little 
else than mystification, for the criminal well knew 
that the autopsy would show natural causes of 
death." 

** But what a terrible solution this is which you 
suggest ! Why, no one had access to the coffin ex- 
cept the undertaker and his two men! " 

** You naturally omit your two brothers, but a 
detective cannot make such discrimination." 

** Why, of course I do not count them, for cer- 
tainly neither of them could be guilty of such a 
crime as you suggest. It is true that Amos — but 
that is of no consequence." 

** Who is Amos ? " asked Mr. Barnes, aroused by 
the fact that Mrs. Quadrant had left her remark un- 
finished. 

** Amos is one of my brothers — my husband's 
brothers, I mean. Amos Quadrant was next in age, 
and Mark the youngest of the three. But, Mr. 
Barnes, how could one of the undertakers have 
made this exchange which you suggest ? Certainly 
they could not have brought the dead body here, 
and my husband's body never left the house prior 
to the funeral." 

** The corpse which was left in place of that of 



The Phoenix of Crime 23 

your husband must have been smuggled into this 
house by some one. Why not by one of these men ? 
How, is a matter for explanation later. There is 
one other possibility about which you may be able 
to enlighten me. What opportunity, if any, was 
there that this substitution may have occurred at 
the crematory ? '* 

" None at all. The coffin was taken from the 
hearse by our own pall-bearers, friends all of them, 
and carried directly to the room into which the fur- 
nace opened. Then, in accordance with my special 
request, the coffin, unopened, was placed in the 
furnace in full view of all present." 

*' Were you there yourself ? " 

'* Oh! no, no! I could not have endured 
such a sight. The cremation was resorted to as a 
special request of my husband. But I am bitterly 
opposed to such a disposition of the dead, and 
therefore remained at home." 

** Then how do you know what you have told 
me ? — that there was no chance for substitution at 
the crematory ? " 

" Because my brothers and other friends have re- 
lated all that occurred there in detail, and all tell 
the same story that I have told you." 

" Dr. Mortimer tells me that you decided to have 
the coffin closed finally on the evening prior to the 
funeral. With the casket closed, I presume you 
did not consider it necessary to have the usual 
watchers ? " 

'* Not exactly, though the two gentlemen, I be- 



24 The Phoenix of Crime 

lieve, sat up through the night, and occasionally 
visited the room where the casket was." 

*' Ah! Then it would seem to have been impos- 
sible for any one to enter the house and accomplish 
the exchange, without being detected by one or 
both of these gentlemen ? " 

** Of course not," said Mrs. Quadrant, and then, 
realizing the necessary deduction, she hastened to 
add: ** I do not know. After all, th^-' may not 
have sat up through all the night." 

** Did any one enter the house that night, so far 
as you know ? " 

** No one, except Dr. Mortimer, who stopped in 
about ten as he was returning from a late profes- 
sional call. He asked how I was, and went on, I 
believe." 

* * But neither of the undertakers came back upon 
any excuse ? " 

** Not to my knowledge." 

At this moment some one was heard walking in 
the hall below, and Mrs. Quadrant added : 

** I think that may be one of my brothers now. 
Suppose ^ou go down and speak to him. He 
would know whether any one came to the house 
during the night. You may tell him that you have 
seen me, if you wish, and that I have no objection 
to your endeavoring to discover the truth." 

Mr. Barnes bade Mrs. Quadrant adieu and went 
down to the parlor floor. Not meeting any one, he 
touched a bell, and when the servant responded, 
asked for either of the gentlemen of the house who 



The Phoenix of Crime ' 25 

might have come in. He was informed that Mr. 
Mark Quadrant was in the Hbrary, and was invited 
to see him there. 

Mr. Mark Quadrant was of medium height, body 
finely proportioned, erect figure, a well-poised head, 
keen, bright eyes, a decided blond, and wore a Van- 
dyke beard, close trimmed. He looked at Mr. 
Barnes in such a manner that the detective knew 
that what^ir^r he might learn from this man would 
be nothing that he #would prefer to conceal, unless 
accidentally surprised from him. It was necessary 
therefore to approach the subject with considerable 
circumspection. 

** I have called," said Mr. Barnes, ** in relation to 
the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death 
of your brother. * * 

'* Are you .connected with the police force?" 
asked Mr. Quadrant. 

*' No. I am a private detective." 

** Then you will pardon my saying that you are 
an intruder — an unwelcome intruder." 

" I think not," said Mr. Barnes, showing no 
irritation at his reception. '* I have the permission 
of Mrs. Quadrant to investigate this affair." 

** Oh! You have seen her, have you ? " 

*' I have just had an interview with her." 

** Then your intrusion is more than unwelcome; 
it is an impertinence." 

** Why, pray?" 

** You should have seen myself or my brother, 
before disturbing a woman in the midst of her grief. ' ' 



26 The Phoenix of Crime 

** I asked for you or your brother, but you were 
both away. It was only then that I asked to see 
Mrs. Quadrant." 

** You should not have done so. It was imper- 
tinent, I repeat. Why could you not have waited 
to see one of us ? " 

** Justice cannot wait. Delay is often danger- 
ous." 

** What have you to do with justice ? This affair 
IS none of your business." 

** The State assumes that a crime is an outrage 
against all its citizens, and any man has the right to 
seek out and secure the punishment of the criminal." 

** How do you know that any crime has been 
committed ? " 

** There can be no doubt about it. The removal 
of your brother's body from his coffin was a criminal 
act in itself, even if we do not take into account the 
object of the person who did this." 

** And what, pray, was the object, since you are 
so wise ? " 

** Perhaps the substitution of the body of a victim 
of murder, in order that the person killed might be 
incinerated." 

** That proposition is worthy of a detective. You 
first invent a crime, and then seek to gain employ- 
ment in ferreting out what never occurred." 

** That hardly holds with me, as I have offered 
my service without remuneration." 

** Oh, I see. An enthusiast in your calling! A 
crank, in other words. Well, let me prick your 



The Phoenix of Crime 27 

little bubble. Suppose I can supply you with 
another motive, one not at all connected with 
murder ? " 

** I should be glad to hear you propound one.*' 

** Suppose that I tell you that though my brother 
requested that his body should be cremated, both 
his widow and myself were opposed ? Suppose 
that I further state that my brother Amos, being 
older than I, assumed the management of affairs, 
and insisted that the cremation should occur ? And 
then suppose that I admit that to thwart that, I re- 
moved the body myself ? ** 

** You ask me to suppose all this," said Mr. 
Barnes quietly. ** In reply, I ask you, do you 
make such a statement ? ** 

** Why, no. I do not intend to make any state- 
ment, because I do not consider that you have any 
right to mix yourself up in this affair. It is my 
wish that the matter should be allowed to rest. 
Nothing could be more repugnant to my feelings, 
or to my brother's, were he alive, poor fellow, than 
all this newspaper notoriety. I wish to see the 
body buried, and the mystery with it. I have no 
desire for any solution." 

" But, despite your wishes, the affair will be, 
must be, investigated. Now, to discuss your im- 
aginary proposition, I will say that it is so improb- 
able that no one would believe it." 

•* Why not, pray ?" 

** First, because it was an unnatural procedure 
upon such an inadequate motive. A man might 



28 The Phoenix of Crime 

kill his brother, but he would hardly desecrate his 
brother's coffin merely to prevent a certain form of 
disposing of the dead.** 

** That is mere presumption. You cannot dog- 
matically state what may actuate a man.** 

** But in this case the means was inadequate to 
the end.** 

'* How so?** 

** If the combined wishes of yourself and the 
widow could not sway your brother Amos, who had 
taken charge of the funeral, how could you hope 
when the body should be removed from the river, 
that he would be more easily brought around to 
your wishes ? ** 

** The effort to cremate the body having failed 
once, he would not resist my wishes in the second 
burial.** 

** That is doubtful. I should think he would be so 
incensed by your act, that he would be more than 
ever determined that you should have no say in the 
matter. But supposing that you believed otherwise, 
and that you wished to carry out this extraordinary 
scheme, you had no opportunity to do so.** 

''Why not ?** 

" I suppose, of course, that your brother sat up 
with the corpse through the night before the 
funeral.** 

" Exactly. You suppose a good deal more than 
you know. My brother did not sit up with the 
corpse. As the coffin had been closed, there was 
no need to follow that obsolete custom. My brother 



The Phoenix of Crime 29 

retired before ten o'clock. I myself remained up 
some hours longer." 

Thus in the mental sparring Mr. Barnes had suc- 
ceeded in learning one fact from this reluctant 
witness. 

** But even so," persisted the detective, ** you 
would have found difficulty in removing the body 
from this house to the river." 

** Yet it was done, was it not ? " 

This was unanswerable. Mr. Barnes did not for a 
moment place any faith in what this brother had 
said. He argued that had he done anything like 
what he suggested, he would never have hinted at 
it as a possibility. Why he did so was a puzzle. 
Perhaps he merely wished to make the affair seem 
more intricate, in the hope of persuading him to 
drop the investigation, being, as he had stated, 
honestly anxious to have the matter removed from 
the public gaze, and caring nothing about any ex- 
planation of how his brother's body had been taken 
from the coffin. On the other hand, there was a 
possibility which could not be entirely overlooked. 
He might really have been guilty of acting as he 
had suggested, and perhaps now told of it as a cun- 
ning way of causing the detective to discredit such 
a solution of the mystery. Mr. Barnes thought it 
well to pursue the subject a little further. 

** Suppose," said he, ** that it could be shown 
that the ashes now in the urn at the cemetery are 
the ashes of a human being ? " 

** You will be smart if you can prove that," said 



30 The Phoenix of Crime 

Mr. Quadrant. '* Ashes are ashes, I take it, and 
you will get little proof there. But since you dis- 
cussed my proposition, I will argue with you about 
yours. You say, suppose the ashes are those of a 
human being. Very well, then, that would prove that 
my brother was cremated after all, and that I have 
been guying you, playing with you as a fisherman 
who fools a fish with feathers instead of real bait.** 

** But what of the identification of the body at 
the Morgue ?'* 

** Was there ever a body at the Morgue that was 
not identified a dozen times ? People are apt to be 
mistaken about their friends after death." 

** But this identification was quite complete, being 
backed up by scientific reasons advanced by experts." 

** Yes, but did you ever see a trial where expert 
witnesses were called, that equally expert witnesses 
did not testify to the exact contrary ? Let me ask 
you a question. Have you seen this body at the 
Morgue ?" 

'* Not yet." 

** Go and see it. Examine the sole of the left 
foot. If you do not find a scar three or four inches 
long the body is not that of my brother. This scar 
was the result of a bad gash made by stepping on a ' 
shell when in bathing. He was a boy at the time, 
and I was with him." 

** But, Mr. Quadrant," said Mr. Barnes, astonished 
by the new turn of the conversation, ** I understood 
that you yourself admitted that the identification 
was correct." 



The Phoenix of Crime 31 

** The body was identified by Dr. Mortimer first. 
My sister and my brother agreed with the doctor, 
and I agreed with them all, for reasons of my own." 

** Would you mind stating those reasons ? '* 

** You are not very shrewd if you cannot guess. 
I want this matter dropped. Had I denied the 
identity of the body it must have remained at the 
Morgue, entailing more newspaper sensationalism. 
By admitting the identity, I hoped that the body 
would be given to us for burial, and that the affair 
would then be allowed to die. * ' 

** Then if, as you now signify, this is not your 
brother's body, what shall I think of your sugges- 
tion that you yourself placed the body in the river? " 

** What shall you think ? Why, think what you 
like. That is your affair. The less you think about 
it, though, the better pleased I should be. And now 
really I cannot permit this conversation to be pro- 
longed. You must go, and if you please I wish that 
you do not come here again.'* 

** I am sorry that I cannot promise that. I shall 
come if I think it necessary. This is your sister's 
house, I believe, and she has expressed a wish that 
I pursue this case to the end." 

** My sister is a fool. At any rate, I can assure 
you, you shall not get another chance at me, so 
make the most of what information I have given 
you. Good morning." 

With these words Mr. Mark Quadrant walked out 
of the room, leaving Mr. Barnes alone. 



32 The Phoenix of Crime 



IV 



Mr. Barnes stood for a moment in a quandary, 
and then decided upon a course of action. He 
touched the bell which he knew would call the 
butler, and then sat down by the grate fire to wait. 
Almost immediately his eye fell upon a bit of white 
paper protruding from beneath a small rug, and he 
picked it up. Examining it closely, he guessed that 
it had once contained some medicine in powder 
form, but nothing in the shape of a label, or traces 
of the powder itself, was there to tell what the drug 
had been. 

" I wonder," thought he, ** whether this bit of 
paper would furnish me with a clue ? I must have 
it examined by a chemist. He may discern by his 
methods what I cannot detect with the naked eye." 

With this thought in his mind, he carefully folded 
the paper in its original creases and deposited it in 
his wallet. At that moment the butler entered. 
What is your name ? " asked Mr. Barnes. 
Thomas, sir," said the man, a fine specimen of 
the intelligent New York negro. " Thomas Jeffer- 






son. 



" Well, Thomas, I am a detective, and your 
mistress wishes me to look into the peculiar circum- 
stances which, as you know, have occurred. Are 
you willing to help me ? " 

I '11 do anything for the mistress, sir." 
Very good. That is quite proper. Now, then, 
do you remember your master's death ? " 



< < 



The Phoenix of Crime 33 

** Yes, sir/' 

'•And his funeral?" 

''Yes, sir." 

** You know when the undertaker and his men 
came and went, and how often, I presume ? You 
let them in and saw them ? ** 

" I let them in, yes, sir. But once or twice they 
went out without my knowing. * ' 

** At five o'clock on the afternoon before the 
funeral, I am told that Mrs. Quadrant visited the 
room where the body was, and ordered that the coffin 
should be closed for the last time. Did you know 
this?" 

" No, sir." 

** I understand that at that time the undertaker 
and two of his men were in the room, as were also 
the two Mr. Quadrants, Mrs. Quadrant, and the 
doctor. Now, be as accurate as you can, and tell 
me in what order and when these persons left the 
house." 

" Dr. Mortimer went away, I remember, just 
after Mrs. Quadrant went to her room to He down. 
Then the gentlemen went in to dinner, and I served 
them. The undertaker and one of his men left to- 
gether just as dinner was put on table. I remember 
that because the undertaker stood in the hall and 
spoke a word to Mr. Amos just as he was entering 
the dining-room. Mr. Amos then turned to me, 
and said for me to show them out. I went to the 
door with them, and then went back to the dining- 



room." 



( ( 



( ( 



34 The Phoenix of Crime 

** Ah! Then one of the undertaker's men was 
left alone with the body ? '* 

** I suppose so, unless he went away first. I did 
not see him go at all. But, come to think of it, he 
must have been there after the other two went 
away. * ' 

Why?" 

Because, when I let out the undertaker and his 
man, their wagon was at the door, but they walked 
off and left it. After dinner it was gone, so the 
other man must have gone out and driven off in it." 

' * Very probably. Now, can you tell me this man's 
name ? The last to leave the house, I mean ? ** 

** I heard the undertaker call one * Jack,' but I do 
not know which one. ' ' 

** But you saw the two men — the assistants, I 
mean. Can you not describe the one that was here 
last?" 

*' Not very well. All I can say is that the one 
that went away with the undertaker was a youngish 
fellow without any mustache. The other was a 
short, thick-set man, with dark hair and a stubby 
mustache. That is all I noticed." 

*' That will be enough. I can probably find him 
at the undertaker's. Now, can you remember 
whether either of the gentlemen sat up with the 
corpse that night ? " 

** Both the gentlemen sat in here till ten o'clock. 
The body was across the hall in the little reception- 
room near the front door. About ten the door-bell 
rang, and I let in the doctor, who stopped to ask 



i < 



it 



The Phoenix of Crime 35 

after Mrs. Quadrant. He and Mr. Amos went up 
to her room. The doctor came down in a few 
minutes, alone, and came into this room to talk with 
Mr. Mark." 

How long did he stay ? ** 

I don't know. Not long, I think, because he 
had on his overcoat. But Mr. Mark told me I could 
go to bed, and he would let the doctor out. So I 
just brought them a fresh pitcher of ice-water, and 
went to my own room." 

** That is all, then, that you know of what occurred 
that night ?" 

" No, sir. There was another thing, that I have 
not mentioned to any one, though I don't think it 
amounts to anything." 

** What was that ?" 

** Some time in the night I thought I heard a door 
slam, and the noise woke me up. I jumped out of 
bed and slipped on some clothes and came as far as 
the door here, but I did not come in." 
Why not?" 

Because I saw Mr. Amos in here, standing by 
the centre-table with a lamp in his hand. He was 
looking down at Mr. Mark, who was fast asleep 
alongside of the table, with his head resting on his 
arm on the table." 

** Did you notice whether Mr. Amos was dressed 
or not ?" 

** Yes, sir. That 's what surprised me. He had 
all his clothes on." 

*' Did he awaken his brother ? " 






36 The Phoenix of Crime 

** No. He just looked at him, and then tiptoed 
out and went upstairs. I slipped behind the hall 
door, so that he would not see me.'* 

'* Was the lamp in his hand one that he had 
brought down from his own room ? * * 

** No, sir. It was one that I had been ordered to 
put in the room where the coffin was, as they did 
not want the electric light turned on in there all 
night. Mr. Amos went back into the front room, 
and left the lamp there before he went upstairs." 

** Do you know when Mr. Mark went up to his 
room ? Did he remain downstairs all night ? ' ' 

** No, sir. He was in bed in his own room when 
I came around in the morning. About six o'clock, 
that was. But I don't know when he went to bed. 
He did not come down to breakfast, though, till 
nearly noon. The funeral was at two o'clock." 

** That is all, I think," said Mr. Barnes. ** But 
do not let any one know that I have talked with 
you." 

** Just as you say, sir." 

As it was now nearing noon, Mr. Barnes left the 
house and hastened up to Mr. Mitchel's residence to 
keep his engagement for luncheon. Arrived there, 
he was surprised to have Williams inform him that 
he had received a telephone message to the effect 
that Mr. Mitchel would not be at home for luncheon. 

** But, Inspector," said Williams, ** here 's a note 
just left for you by a messenger." 

Mr. Barnes took the envelope, which he found 
inclosed the following from Mr. Mitchel: 



The Phoenix of Crime 37 



it 



Friend Barnes : — 

Am sorry I cannot be home to luncheon. Will- 
iams will give you a bite. I have news for you. I 
have seen the ashes, and there is now no doubt that 
a body, a human body, was burned at the crema- 
tory that day. I do not despair that we may yet 
discover whose body it was. More when I know 



more." 



Mr. Barnes read this note over two or three 
times, and then folded it thoughtfully and put it in 
his pocket. He found it difficult to decide whether 
Mr. Mitchel had been really detained, or whether he 
had purposely broken his appointment. If the lat- 
ter, then Mr. Barnes felt sure that already he had 
made some discovery which rendered this case 
doubly attractive to him, so much so that he had 
concluded to seek the solution himself. 

" That man is a monomaniac,** thought Mr. 
Barnes, somewhat nettled. ** I come here and at- 
tract his attention to a case that I know will afford 
him an opportunity to follow a fad, and now he 
goes off and is working the case alone. It is not 
fair. But I suppose this is another challenge, and 
I must work rapidly to get at the truth ahead of 
him. Well, I will accept, and fight it out.** 
. Thus musing, Mr. Barnes, who had declined 
Williams's offer to serve luncheon, left the house 
and proceeded to the shop of the undertaker. This 



38 The Phoenix of Crime 

man had a name the full significance of which had 
never come home to him until he began the business 
of caring for the dead. He spelled it Berial, and 
insisted that the pronunciation demanded a long 
sound to the '* i/' and a strong accent on the middle 
syllable. But he was constantly annoyed by the 
cheap wit of acquaintances, who with a significant 
titter would call him either Mr. ** Burial/* or Mr. 
** Bury all." 

Mr. Barnes found Mr. Berial disengaged, under- 
takers, fortunately, not always being rushed with 
business, and encountered no difficulty in approach- 
ing his subject. 

** I have called, Mr. Berial," said the detective, 
** to get a little information about your management 
of the funeral of Mr. Quadrant." 

** Certainly," said Mr. Berial; ** any information 
I can give, you are welcome to. Detective, I 
suppose ? " 

** Yes; in the interest of the family," replied Mr. 
Barnes. ** There are some odd features of this case, 
Mr. Berial." 

**Odd?" said the undertaker. ** Odd don't 
half cover it. It *s the most remarkable thing in 
the history of the world. Here I am, with an ex- 
perience in funerals covering thirty years, and I go 
and have a man decently cremated, and, by hickory, 
if he ain't found floating in the river the next morn- 
ing. Odd ? Why, there ain't any word to describe 
a thing like that. It 's devilish ; that 's the nearest 
I can come to it." 



The Phoenix of Crime 39 

' " Well, hardly that/* said Mr. Barnes, with a 
smile. " Of course, since Mr. Quadrant's body has 
been found in the river, it never was cremated.*' 

** Who says so ? " asked the undertaker, sharply. 
** Not cremated ? Want to bet on that ? I suppose 
not. We can't make a bet about the dead. It 
would n't be professional. But Mr. Quadrant was 
cremated. There is n't any question about that 
point. Put that down as final." 

** But it is impossible that he should have been 
cremated, and then reappear at the Morgue." 

** Just what I say. The thing 's devilish. There 's 
a hitch, of course. But why should it be at my end, 
eh ? Tell me that, will you ? There 's just as much 
chance for a mistake at the Morgue as at the funeral, 
is n't there ? " This was said in a tone that chal- 
lenged dispute. 

" What mistake could have occurred at the 
Morgue ? " asked Mr. Barnes. 

** Mistaken identification," replied the undertaker 
so quickly that he had evidently anticipated the 
question. ** Mistaken identification. That 's your 
cue, Mr. Barnes. It 's happened often enough be- 
fore," he added, with a chuckle. 

" I scarcely think there can be a mistake of that 
character," said Mr. Barnes, thinking, nevertheless, 
of the scar on the foot. ** This identification is not 
merely one of recognition ; it is supported by scien- 
tific reason, advanced by the doctors." 

" Oh! doctors make mistakes too, I guess," said 
Mr. Berial, testily. ** Look here, you 're a detective. 



J 



f 

40 The Phoenix of Crime ^ 

You *re accustomed to weigh evidence. Now tell 
me, will you, how could this man be cremated, as I 
tell you he was, and then turn up in the river ? 
Answer that, and I '11 argue with you." 

** The question, of course, turns on the fact of 
the cremation. How do you know that the body 
was in the coffin when it was consigned to the 
furnace ? ' * 

" How do I know ? Why, ain't that my business ? 
Who should know if I don't ? Did n't I put the 
body in the coffin myself ?*" 

*' Very true. But why could not some one have 
taken the body out after you closed the coffin 
finally, and before the hour of the funeral ? " 

Mr. Berial laughed softly to himself, as though 
enjoying a joke too good to be shared too soon with 
another. Presently he said : 

** Thai 's a proper question, of course;.. a very 
proper question, and I '11 answer it. But I must 
tell you a secret, so you may understand it. You 
see in this business we depend a good deal on the 
recommendation of the attending physician. Some 
doctors are real professional, and recommend a man 
on his merits. Others are different. They expect 
a commission. Surprises you, don't it ? But it 's 
done every day in this town. The doctor can't save 
his patient, and the patient dies. Then he tells the 
sorrowing friends that such and such an undertaker 
is the proper party to hide away the result of his 
failure ; failure to cure, of course. In due time he 
gets his little check, ten per cent, of the funeral bill. 



The Phoenix of Crime 41 

This seems like wandering away from the point, but 
I am coming back to it. This commission arrange- 
ment naturally keeps me on the books of certain 
doctors, and vicy versy it keeps them on mine. So, 
working for certain doctors, it follows that I work 
for a certain set of people. Now I *ve a Catholic 
doctor on my books, and it happens that the ceme- 
tery where that church buries is in a lonesome place ; 
just the spot for a grave-robber to work undisturbed, 
especially if the watchman out there should happen 
to be fond of his tipple, which I tell you, again in 
confidence, that he is. Now, then, it has happened 
more than once, though it has been kept quiet, that 
a grave filled up one afternoon would be empty the 
next morning. At least the body would be gone. 
Of course they would n't take the coffin, as they 'd 
be likely to be caught getting rid of it. You see, a 
coffin ain't exactly regular household furniture. If 
they have time they fill the grave again, but often 
enough they *re too anxious to get away, because, 
of course, the watchman might not be drunk. Well, 
these things being kept secret, but still pretty 
well known in the congregation, told in whispers, I 
might say, a sort of demand sprung up for a style 
of coffin that a grave-robber could n't open, — a 
sort of coffin with a combination lock, as it were." 

'* You don't mean tp say — " began Mr. Barnes, 
greatly interested at last in the old man's rather 
lengthy speech. He was interrupted by the under- 
taker, who again chuckled as he exclaimed : 

'' Don't I ? Well, I do, though. Of course I don't 



42 The Phoenix of Crime 

mean there *s really a combination lock. T^ha 
would never do. We often have to open the coffir 
for a friend who wants to see the dead face again^ 
or for folks that come to the funeral late. It '^ 
funny, when you come to think of it, how folks will 
be late to funerals. As they only have this last 
visit to make, you 'd think they *d make it a point 
to be on time and not delay the funeral. But 
about the way I fasten a coffin. If any grave- 
robber tackles one of my coffins without knowing 
the trick, he 'd be astonished, I tell you. I often 
think of it and laugh. You see, there 's a dozen 
screws and they look just like ordinary screws. But 
if you work them all out with a screw-driver, your 
coffin lid is just as tight as ever. You see, it 's this 
way. The real screw works with a reverse thread, 
and is hollow on the top. Now I have a screw-driver 
that is really a screw. When the screw-threaded 
end of this is screwed into the hollow end of the 
coffin-bolt, as soon as it is in tight it begins to un- 
screw the bolt. To put the bolt in, in the first 
place, I first screw it tight on to my screw-driver, 
and then drive it in, turning backwards, and as 
soon as it is tight my screw-driver begins to un- 
screw and so comes out. Then I drop in my 
dummy screw, and just turn it down to fill the 
hole. Now the dummy screw and the reverse 
thread of the real bolt is a puzzle for a grave- 
robber, and anyway he could n't solve it without 
one of my own tools." 

Mr. Barnes reflected deeply upon this as a most 



The Phoenix of Crime 43 

important statement. If Mr. Quadrant's coffin was 
thus fastened, no one could have opened it without 
the necessary knowledge and the special screw- 
driver. He recalled that the butler had told him 
that one of Mr. Berial's men had been at the house 
after the departure of the others. This man was 
therefore in the position to have opened the coffin, 
supposing that he had had one of the screw-drivers. 
Of this it would be well to learn. 

** I suppose," said Mr. Barnes, ** that the coffin 
in which you placed Mr. Quadrant was fastened in 
this fashion ? ' ' 

** Yes; and I put the lid on and fastened it 
myself. ' ' 

** What, then, did you do with the screw-driver ? 
You might have left it at the house." 

** I might have, but I did n't. No; I 'm not 
getting up a combination and then leaving the key 
around loose. No, sir; there 's only one of those 
screw-drivers, and I take care of it myself. I '11 
show it to you." 

The old man went to a drawer, which he unlocked, 
and brought back the tool. 

** You see what it is," he continued — ** double- 
ended. This end is just the common every-day 
screw-driver. That is for the dummies that fill up 
the hollow ends after the bolts are sent home. The 
other end, you see, looks just like an ordinary screw 
with straight sides. There 's a shoulder to keep it 
from jamming. Now that 's the only one of those, 
and I keep it locked in that drawer with a Yale lock, 



44 The Phoenix of Crime 

and the key is always in my pocket. No ; I guess 
that coffin was n't opened after I shut it." 

Mr. Barnes examined the tool closely, and formed 
his own conclusions, which he thought best to keep 
to himself. 

** Yes/' said he aloud; ** it does seem as though 
the mistake must be in the identification." 

** What did I tell you ? " exclaimed Mr. Berial, 
delighted at thinking that he had convinced the 
detective. ** Oh, I guess I know my business." 

** I was told at the house," said Mr. Barnes, ** that 
when you left, after closing the coffin, one of your 
men stayed behind. Why was that ? " 

** Oh, I was hungry and anxious to get back for 
dinner. One of my men. Jack, I brought away with 
me, because I had to send him up to another place 
to get some final directions for another funeral. 
The other man stayed behind to straighten up the 
place and bring off our things in the wagon." 

** Who was this man ? What is his name ? " 

** Jerry, we called him. I don't know his last 
name." 

** I would like to have a talk with him. Can I 
see him ? " 

** I am afraid not. He is n't working with me 
any more. 



> t 



** How was that ?" 

** He left, that 's all. Threw up his job. 

When was that ?" 

This morning." 
** This morning ? " 



f » 



< < 



( < 



The Phoenix of Crime 45 

" Yes; just as soon as I got here, about eight 
o'clock." 

Mr. Barnes wondered whether there was any con- 
nection between this man's giving up his position, 
and the account of the discoveries in regard to Mr. 
Quadrant's body which the morning papers had 
published. 



VI 



" Mr. Berial," said Mr. Barnes after a few 
moments' thought, ** I wish you would let me have 
•a little talk with your man — Jack, I think you called 
him. And I would like to speak to him alone if you 
don't mind. I feel that I must find this other fel- 
low, Jerry, and perhaps Jack may be able to give 
me some information as to his home, unless you can 
yourself tell me where he lives. ' ' 

** No; I know nothing about him," said Mr. 
Berial. ** Of course you can speak to Jack. I '11 
call him in here and I '11 be off to attend to some 
business. That will leave you alone with him." 

Jack, when he came in, proved to be a character. 
Mr. Barnes soon discovered that he had little faith 
in the good intentions of any one in the world ex- 
cept himself. He evidently was one of those men 
who go through life with a grievance, feeling that 
all people have in some way contributed to their 
misfortune. 

** Your name is Jack," said Mr. Barnes; *' Jack 
what?" 



46 The Phoenix of Crime 

*' Jackass, you might say/' answered the fellow, 
with a coarse attempt at wit. 

' * And why, pray ? * ' 

" Well, a jackass works like a slave, don't he ? 
And what does he get out of it ? Lots of blows, 
plenty of cuss words, and a little fodder. It 's the 
same with yours truly." 

** Very well, my man, have your joke. But now 
tell me your name. I am a detective." 

*' The devil a much I care for that. I ain't got 
nothin' to hide. My name 's Randal, if you must 
have it. Jack Randal." 

*' Very good. Now I want to ask you a few 
questions about the funeral of Mr. Quadrant." 
Ask away. Nobody 's stoppin' you." 
You assisted in preparing the body for the 
coffin, I think ?" 

** Yes, and helped to put him in it." 

** Have you any idea how he got out of it 
again ? " asked Mr. Barnes suddenly. 

*' Nit. Leastways, not any worth mentionin', 
since I can't prove what I might think." 

** But I should like to know what you think, any- 
way," persisted the detective. 

** Well, I think he was took out," said Randal 
with a hoarse laugh. 

* * Then you do not believe that he was cremated ? " 

** Cremated ? Not on your life. If he was made 
into ashes, would he turn up again a floater and 
drift onto the marble at the Morgue ? I don't 
think." 



1 1 



i t 



\ 



The Phoenix of Crime 47 

" But how could the body have gotten out of the 
coffin ?'• 

** He could n't. I never saw a stiff do that, 
except once, at an Irish wake, and that fellow 
was n't dead. No, the dead don't walk. Not 
these days. I tell you, he was took out of the 
box. That *s as plain as your nose, not meanin' 
to be personal." 

*' Come, come, you have said all that before. 
What I want to know is, how you think he could 
have been taken out of the coffin." 

** Lifted out, I reckon." 

Mr. Barnes saw that nothing would be gained by 
getting angry, though the fellow's persistent flip- 
pancy annoyed him extremely. He thought best 
to appear satisfied with his answers, and to endeavor 
to get his information by slow degrees, since he could 
not get it more directly. 

** Were you present when the coffin lid was 
fastened ? " 

*' Yes; the boss did that." ,, 

** How was it fastened ? With the usual style of 
screws ? " 

" Oh, no! We used the boss's patent screw, war- 
ranted to keep the corpse securely in his grave. 
Once stowed away in the /boss's patent screw-top 
casket, no ghost gets back to trouble the long- 
suffering family." 

** You know all about these patent coffin-screws ? " 

** Why, sure. Ain't I been working with old 
Berial these three years ? " 



48 The Phoenix of Crime 

** Does Mr. Berial always screw on the coffin lids 
himself?" 

** Yes; he *s stuck on it." 

** He keeps the screw-driver in his own pos- 
session ? " 

•* So he thinks." 

** What do you mean ? " asked Mr. Barnes, im- 
mediately attentive. 

** Just what I say. Old Berial thinks he *s got 
the only screw-driver." 

** But you know that there is another ? " 

*' Who says so ? I don't know anything of the 
sort." 

** Why, then, do you cast a doubt upon the mat- 
ter by saying that Mr. Berial thinks he has the only 
one ?" 

** Because I do doubt it, that 's all." 
Why do you doubt it ? " 

Oh, I don't know. A fellow can't always 
account for what he thinks, can he ? " 

" You must have some reason for thinking there 
may be a duplicate of that screw-driver." 

*' Well, what if I have ? " 

*' I would like to know it." 

** No doubt! But it ain't right to cast suspicions 
when you can't prove a thing, is it ? " 

** Perhaps others may find the proof." 

*' Just so. People in your trade are pretty good 
at that, I reckon." 
Good at what ? ' ' 
Proving things that don't exist." 



< < 



< i 



<< 



The Phoenix of Crime 49 

** But if your suspicion is groundless, there can be 
no harm in telling it to me." 

** Oh, there 's grounds enough for what I think. 
Look here, suppose a case. Suppose a party, a 
young female party, dies. Suppose her folks think 
they *d like to have her hands crossed on her breast. 
Suppose a man, me, for instance, helps the boss fix 
up that young party with her hands crossed, and 
suppose there *s a handsome shiner, a fust-water 
diamond, on one finger. Suppose we screw down 
that coffin lid tight at night, and the boss carts off 
his pet scfew-driver. Then suppose next day, when 
he opens that coffin for the visitors to have a last 
look at the young person, that the other man, mean- 
in' me, happens to notice that the shiner is missin*. 
If no other person notices it, that *s because they 're 
too busy grievin'. But that 's the boss's luck, I 
say. The diamond 's gone, just the same, ain't it ? 
Now, you would n't want to claim that the young 
person come out of that patent box and give that 
diamond away in the night, would you ? If she 
come out at all, I should say it was in the form of a 
ghost, and I never heard of ghosts wearin* diamonds, 
or givin' away finger rings. Did you ? " 

** Do you mean to say that such a thing as this 
has occurred? " 

** Oh, I ain't sayin' a word. I don't make no 
accusations. You can draw your own conclusions. 
But in a case like that you would think there was 
more than one of them screw-drivers, now, would n't 

4 



50 The Phoenix of Crime 

*' I certainly should, unless we imagined that Mr. 
Berial himself returned to the house and stole the 
ring. But that, of course, is impossible." 

'Ms it?" 

** Why, would you think that Mr. Berial would 
steal ? " 

** Who knows ? We *re all honest, till we 're 
caught. 

** Tell me this. If Mr. Berial keeps that screw- 
driver always in his own possession, how could any 
one have a duplicate of it made ? " 

** Dead easy. If you can't see that, you 're as 
soft as the old man." 

*' Perhaps I am. But tell me how it could be 
done." 

** Why, just see. That tool is double-ended. 
But one end is just a common, ordinary screw- 
driver. You don't need to imitate that. The 
other end is just a screw that fits into the thread at 
the end of the bolts. Now old Berial keeps his 
precious screw-driver locked up, but the bolts lay 
around by the gross. Any man about the place 
could take one and have a screw cut to fit it, and 
there you are." 

This was an important point, and Mr. Barnes was 
glad to have drawn it out. It now became only too 
plain that the patented device was no hindrance to 
any one knowing of it, and especially to one who had 
access to the bolts. This made it the more neces- 
sary to find the man Jerry. 

** There was another man besides yourself who 



4 4 

4 4 



4 4 



4 4 



The Phoenix of Crime 51 

assisted at the Quadrant funeral, was there not ?*' 
asked Mr. Barnes. 

*' There was another man, but he did n't assist 
much. He was no good." 

What was this man's name ? " 
That 's why I say he 's no good. He called 
himself Jerry Morton, but it did n't take me long 
to find out that his name was really Jerry Morgan. 
Now a man with two names is usually a crook, to 
my way of thinkin'.** 

** He gave up his job here this morning, did he 
not?" 

Did he?" 

Yes. Can you tell why he should have done 
so ? Was he not well enough paid ? " 

*' Too well, I take it. He got the same money I 
do, and I done twice as much work. So he 's 
chucked it, has he ? Well, I should n't wonder if 
there was good reason." 
** What reason ?" 

" Oh, I don't know. That story about old Quadrant 
floatin' back was in the papers to-day, was n't it ? " 
Yes." 

Very well. There you are." ^ 

You mean that this man Morgan might have 
had a hand in that ? " 

'* Oh, he had a hand in it all right. So did I 
ind the boss, for that matter. But the boss and 
le left him screwed tight in his box, and Jerry he 
^as left behind to pick up, as it were. And he had 
[the wagon too. Altogether, I should say he had 



4 4 

44 



52 The Phoenix of Crime 

the chance if anybody. But mind you, I ain't 
makin' no accusations.** 

** Then, if Jerry did this, he must have had a 
duplicate screw-driver ? *' 

** Yqu *re improvin', you are. You begin to see 
things. But I never seen him with no screw-driver, 
remember that. * ' 

** Was he in Mr. Berial's employment at the time 
of the other aflair ? " 

** What other affair?" 

'* The case of the young lady from whose finger 
the diamond ring was stolen." 

** Oh, that. Why, he might have been, of course, 
but then, you know, we was only supposin* a case 
there. We did n*t say that was a real affair.** 
Randal laughed mockingly. 

** Have you any idea as to where I could find this 
man Morgan ? " 

** I don't think you will find him.'* 

** Why not?" 

** Skipped, I guess. He would n't chuck this job 
just to take a holiday." 

** Do you know where he lived ? " 

** Eleventh Avenue near Fifty-fourth Street. I 
don't know the number, but it was over the butchier 
shop." 

** If this man Morgan did this thing, can you 
imagine why he did it ? " ^ 

** For pay; you can bet on that. Morgan ain'^ 
the man as would take a risk like that for the fun oi 
the thing. ' ' 



< < 

< t 



The Phoenix of Crime 53 

" But how could he hope to be paid for such an 
act ?" 

'* Oh, he would n't hope. You don't know 
Jerry. He 'd be paid, part in advance anyway, 
and balance on demand." 

But who would pay him, and with what object ? " 
Oh, I don't know. But let me tell you some- 
thing. Them brothers were n't all so lovin' to one 
another as the outside world thinks. In the fust 
place, as I gathered by listenin' to the talk of the 
servants, the one they called Amos did n't waste no 
love on the dead one, though I guess the other one, 
Mark, liked him some. I think he liked the widow 
even better." Here he laughed. ** Now the dead 
man wanted to be cremated — that is, he said so be- 
fore he was dead. The widow did n't relish the 
idea, but she ain't strong-minded enough to push 
her views. Now we *11 suppose a case again. I 
like that style, it don't commit you to anything. 
Well, suppose this fellow Mark thinks he *11 get into 
the good graces of the widow by hindering the cre- 
mation. He stands out agin it. Amos he says the 
old fellow wanted to be burned, and let him burn. 
* He '11 burn in hell, anyway.' That nice, sweet 
remark he did inake, I '11 tell you that much. Then 
the brothers they quarrel. And a right good row 
they did have, so I hear. Now we '11 suppose again. 
Why could n't our friend, Mr. Mark, have got up 
this scheme to stop the cremation ? ' ' 

Mr. Barnes was startled to hear this man suggest 
exactly what Mark himself had hinted at. Could it 



54 The Phoenix of Crime 

be only a coincidence or was it really the solution 
of the mystery ? But if so, what of the body that 
was really cremated ? But then again the only evi- 
dence in his possession on that point was the bare 
statement in the note received from Mr. Mitchel. 
Two constructions could be placed upon that note. 
First, it might have been honestly written by Mr. 
Mitchel, who really believed what he wrote, though, 
smart as he was, he might have been mistaken. 
Secondly, the note might merely have been written 
to send Mr. Barnes off on a wrong clue, thus leaving 
Mr. Mitchel a chance to follow up the right one. 
Resuming his conversation with Randal, Mr. Barnes 
said: 

** Then you imagine that Mr. Mark Quadrant 
hired this man Morgan to take away the body and 
hide it until after the funeral ? ** 

'' Oh, I don't know. All I '11 say is, I don't 
think Jerry would be too good for a little job like 
that. Say, you 're not a bad sort, as detectives go. 
I don't mind givin' you a tip." 

** I am much obliged, I am sure," said Mr. 
Barnes, smiling at the fellow's presumption. 

*' Don't mention it. I make no charge. But see. 
Have you looked at the corpse at the Morgue ? " 

No. Why?" 

Well, I stopped in this morning and had a peep 
at him. I guess it 's Quadrant all right." 

Have you any special way of knowing that ? " 

Well, when the boss was injectin' the embalm- 
in' fluid, he stuck the needle in the wrong place 



f i 



1 1 



t f 
<< 



The Phoenix of Crime 55 

first, and had to put it in again. That made two 
holes. They 're both there. You might wonder 
why we embalmed a body that was to be cremated. 
' You see, we did n't know the family was n*t going 
to let him be seen, and we was makin' him look 
natural." 

** And you are sure there are two punctures in 
the body at the Morgue ? '* 

** Dead sure. That 's a joke. But that ain't the 
tip I want to give you. This is another case of 
diamond rings." 

** You mean that there were diamond rings left on 
the hand when the body was placed in the coffin ? " 

** One solitaire; a jim dandy. And likewise a 
ruby, set deep like a carbuncle, I think they call 
them other red stones. Then on the little finger of 
the other hand there was a solid gold ring, with a 
flat top to it, and a letter ' Q ' in it, made of little 
diamonds. Them rings never reached the Morgue. ' ' 

'* But even so, that does not prove that they were 
taken by the man who removed the corpse from the 
coffin. They might have been taken by those who 
found the body in the river." 

*' Nit. Have n't you read the papers ? Boys 
found it, but they called in the police to get it out 
of the water. Since then the police has been in 
charge. Now I ain't got none too good an opinion 
of the police myself, but they don't rob the dead. 
They squeeze the livin', all right, but not the dead. 
Put that down. You can believe, if you like, that 
Jerry carted that body off to the river and dumped 



56 The Phoenix of Crime 

it in, diamond rings and all. But as I said before, 
you don't know Jerry. No, sir, if I was you, I 'd 
find them rings, and find out how they got there. 
And maybe I can help you there, too, — that is, if 
you '11 make it worth my while." 

Mr. Barnes understood the hint and responded 
promptly : 

** Here is a five-dollar bill," said he. ** And if 
you really tell me anything that aids me in finding 
the rings, I will give you ten more." 

** That 's the talk," said Randal, taking the 
money. ** Well, it *s this way. You *11 find that 
crooks, like other fly birds, has regular haunts. 
Now I happen to know that Jerry spouted his 
watch, a silver affair, but a good timer, once, and I 
take it he 'd carry the rings where he *s known, 
'specially as I 'm pretty sure the pawnbroker ain't 
over inquisitive about where folks gets the things 
they borrow on. If I was you, I 'd try the shop on 
Eleventh Avenue by Fiftieth Street. It don't look 
like a rich place, but that kind don't want to attract 
too much attention." 

** I will go there. I have no doubt that if he took 
the rings we will find them at that place. One thing 
more. How was Mr. Quadrant dressed when you 
placed him in the coffin ? The newspapers make 
no mention of the clothing found on him." 

*' Oh, we did n't dress him. You see, he was to 
be burned, so we just shrouded him. Nothin' but 
plain white cloth. No buttons or nothin' that 
would n't burn up. The body at the Morgue was 



The Phoenix of Crime 57 

found without no clothes of any kind. I 'd recog- 
nize that shroud, though, if it turns up. So there *s 
another point for you." 

** One thing more. You are evidently sure that 
Mr. Quadrant's body was taken out of the coffin, j^ 
Do you think, then, that the coffin was empty when 
they took it to the crematory ? '* 

'* Why, sure ! What could there be in it ? " 

** Suppose I were to tell you that another detective 
has examined the ashes and declares that he can 
prove that a human body was burned with that 
coffin. What would you say ? '* 

** I *d say he was a liar. I 'd say he was riggin* 
you to get you off the scent. No, sir! Don't you 
follow no such blind trail as that." 

VII 

As Mr. Barnes left the undertaker's shop he ob- 
served Mr. Burrows coming towards him. It will 
be recalled that this young detective, now connected 
with the regular police force of the metropolis, had 
earlier in life been a prot^gd of Mr. Barnes. It was 
not difficult to guess from his being in this neighbor- 
hood that to him had been intrusted an investiga- 
tion of the Quadrant mystery. 

** Why, hello, Mr. Barnes," Mr. Burrows ex- 
claimed, as he recognized his old friend. ** What 
are you doing about here ? Nosing into this Quad- 
rant matter, I '11 be bound." 

*• It is an attractive case," replied Mr. Barnes, in 



58 The Phoenix of Crime 

non-committal language. *' Are you taking care of 
it for the office ? " 

'* Yes; and the more I look into it the more com- 
plicated I find it. If you are doing any work on it, 
I would n't mind comparing notes." 

** Very well, my boy," said Mr. Barnes, after a 
moment's thought, " I will confess that I have gone 
a little way into this. What have you done? " 

*' Well, in the first place, there was another ex- 
amination by the doctors this morning. There is n't 
a shadow of doubt that the man at the Morgue was 
dead when thrown into the water. What 's more, 
he died in his bed." 

** Of what disease ?" 

** Cancer of the stomach. Put that down as fact 
number one. Fact number two is that the mark on 
his face is exactly the same, and from the same skin 
disease that old Quadrant had. Seems he also had 
a cancer, so I take it the identification is complete ; 
especially as the family say it is their relative. 

* * Do they all agree to that ? ' * 

** Why, yes — that is, all except the youngest 
brother. He says he guesses it 's his brother. 
Something about that man struck me as peculiar." 

** Ah! Then you have seen him ? " 

*' Yes. Don't care to talk to detectives. Wants 
the case hushed up; says there 's nothing in it. 
Now I know there is something in it, and I am not 
sure he tells all he knows." 

** Have you formed any definite conclusion as to 
the motive in this case ? " 



The Phoenix of Crime 59 



<< 

<< 



The motive for what ? " 

Why, for removing the body from the coffin." 

" Well, I think the motive of the man who did it 
was money. What the motive of the man who 
hired him was, I can't prove yet." 

** Oh! Then you think there are two in it ? " 

** Yes; I *m pretty sure of that. And I think I 
can put my finger on the man that made the actual 
transfer." 

The two men were walking as they talked, Mr. 
Burrows having turned and joined the older de- 
tective. Mr. Barnes was surprised to find his friend 
advancing much the same theory as that held by 
Randal. He was more astonished, however, at the 
next reply elicited. He asked : 

Do you mind naming this man ? " 
Not to you, if you keep it quiet till I *m ready 
to strike. I *m pretty sure that the party who car- 
ried the body away and put it in the river was the 
undertaker's assistant, a fellow who calls himself 
Randal." 

Mr. Barnes started, but quickly regained his self- 
control. Then he said : 

" Randal ? Why, how could he have managed it ? " 

** Easily enough. It seems that the coffin was 
closed at five on the afternoon before the funeral, 
and the undertaker was told, in the presence of this 
fellow Randal, that it would not be opened again. 
Then the family went in to dine, and Berial and the 
other man, a fellow with an alias, but whose true 
name is Morgan, left the house, the other one, 



< < 



< < 



■^ 



60 The Phoenix of Crime 

Randal, remaining behind to clear up. The under- 
taker's wagon was also there, and Randal drove it 
to the stables half an hour or so later.** 

Mr. Barnes noted here that there was a discrepancy 
between the facts as related by Mr. Burrows and as 
he himself had heard them. He had been told by 
Berial himself that it was ** Jack ** who had left the 
house with him, while Burrows evidently believed 
that it was Jack Randal who had been left behind. 
It was important, therefore, to learn whether there 
existed any other reason for suspecting Randal 
rather than Morgan. 

** But though he may have had this opportunity,*' 
said Mr. Barnes, ** you would hardly connect him 
with this matter without corroborative evidence.*' 

'* Oh, the case is not complete yet,** said Mr. 
Burrows ; ** but I have had this fellow Randal 
watched for three days. We at the office knew 
about this identification before the newspapers got 
hold of it, be sure of that. Now one curious thing 
that he has done was to attempt to destroy some 
pawn-tickets. * * 

Pawn-tickets ? * ' 

Yes. I was shadowing him myself last night, 
when I saw him tear up some paper and drop the 
pieces in the gutter at the side of the pavement. I 
let my man go on, for the sake of recovering those 
bits of paper. It took some perseverance and no 
little time, but I found them, and when put to- 
gether, as I have said, they proved to be pawn- 
tickets." 



t i 



( t 



The Phoenix of Crime 6i 

" Have you looked at the property represented 
yet?*' 

** No. Would you like to go with me ? We '11 
go together. I was about to make my first open 
appearance at the undertaker's shop to face this 
fellow, when you met me. But there 's time enough 
for that. We *11 go and look at the rings if you say 
the word." 

** Rings, are they ?" said Mr. Barnes. " Why, I 
would like nothing better. They might have been 
taken from the corpse." 

** Have n't a doubt of it," said Mr. Burrows. 
'* Here are the pawn-tickets. There are two of 
them. Both for rings. " He handed the two pawn- 
tickets to Mr. Barnes. The pieces had been pasted 
on another bit of paper and the two were conse- 
quently now on a single sheet. Mr. Barnes looked 
at them closely and then said : 

** Why, Burrows, these are made out in the name 
of Jerry Morgan. Are you sure you have made no 
mistake in this affair ? " 

** Mistake ? Not a bit of it. That fellow thinks 
he is smart, but I don't agree with him. He imag- 
ines that we might guess that one of those who had 
the handling of the body did this job, and when he 
pawned the rings he just used the other fellow's 
name. It 's an old trick, and not very good, either. ' ' 

Mr. Barnes was not entirely convinced, though 
the theory was possible, nay, plausible. In which 
case, the tip which Randal had given to Mr. Barnes 
was merely a part of his rather commonplace scheme 



K 



62 The Phoenix of Crime 

of self-protection at the expense of a fellow-work- 
man. He was glad now that he had met Burrows, 
for his possession of the pawn-tickets made it easy 
to visit the pawnbroker and see the rings ; while his 
connection with the regular force would enable him 
to seize them should they prove to have been stolen 
from the body of Mr. Quadrant. It was noteworthy 
that the pawn-tickets had been issued by the man 
to whose place Randal had directed him. Arrived 
there, Mr. Burrows demanded to see the rings, to 
which the pawnbroker at first demurred, arguing 
that the tickets had been torn, that they had not 
been issued to the one presenting them, and that 
unless they were to be redeemed he must charge a 
fee of twenty-five cents for showing the goods. To 
all of this Mr. Burrows listened patiently and then 
showing his shield said meaningly: 

** Now, friend Isaac, you get those rings out, and 
it will be better for you. The Chief has had an eye 
on this little shop of yours for some time." 

** So help me Moses!** said the man, ** he can 
keep both eyes on if he likes.** 

But his demeanor changed, and with considerable 
alacrity he brought out the rings. There were 
three, just as Randal had described to Mr. Barnes, 
including the one with the initial '* Q'* set in 
diamonds. 

"Who left these with you ? ** asked Mr. Burrows. 

" The name is on the ticket,*' answered the pawn- 
broker. 

** ypu arc inaccurate, my friend.. A name is on 



The Phoenix of Crime 63 

the ticket, yes, but not the name. Now tell me 
the truth." 

"It 's all straight. I ain't hiding anything. 
Morgan brought the things here.** 

** Morgan, eh ? You are sure his name is Mor- 
gan ? Quite sure ? ** 

" Why, that 's the name I know him by. Some- 
times he goes by the name of Morton, I *ve heard. 
But with me it's always been Morgan, Jerry Mor- 
gan, just as it reads on the ticket." 

** Oh, then you know this man Morgan ? " 

** No; only that he borrows money on security 
once in a while." 

** Well, now, if his name is Morgan, did you think 
this ring with a * Q ' on it was his ? Does * Q ' 
stand for Morgan ? " 

** That *s none of my affair. Heavens, I can't 
ask everybody where they get things. They 'd be 
insulted." 

** Insulted! That *s a good one. Well, when I 
get my hands on this chap he '11 be badly insulted, 
for I '11 ask him a lot of questions. Now, Isaac, let 
me tell you what this * Q ' stands for. It stands for 
Quadrant, and that 's the name of the man found in 
the river lately, and these three rings came off his 
fingers. After death, Isaac; after death! What 
do you think of that ? " 

** You don't say! I 'm astonished! " 

" Are you, now ? Never thought your friend 
Morgan or Morton, who works out by the day, 
and brought valuable diamonds to pawn, would do 



64 The Phoenix of Crime 

such a thing, did you ? Thought he bought these 
things out of his wages, eh ? '* 

** I never knew he was n't honest, so help me 
Moses! or I would n't have had a thing to do with 
him." 

** Perhaps not. You 're too honest yourself to 
take ' swag * from a * crook, ' even though you loan 
about one quarter of the value." 

** I gave him all he asked for. He promised to 
take them out again. 

'* Well, he won't, Isaac. I '11 take them out 
myself." 

** You don't mean you 're going to keep the 
rings ? Where do I come in ? " 

'* You 're lucky you don't come into jail." 

*' May I ask this man a few questions. Burrows ? " 
said Mr. Barnes. 

*' As many as you like, and see that you answer 
straight, Isaac. Don't forget what I hinted about 
the Chief having an eye on you." 

** Why, of course, I '11 answer anything." 

*' You say you have known this man Morgan for 
some time? " asked Mr. Barnes. **Can you give me 
an idea of how he looks ? " 

*' Why, I ain't much on descriptions. Morgan 
is a short fellow, rather stocky, and he 's got 
dark hair and a mustache that looks like a paint- 
brush." 

Mr. Barnes recalled the description which the 
butler had given of the man who had remained at 
the house when the others went away, and this 



The Phoenix of Crime 65 

tallied very well with it. As Bericil had declared 
that it was Morgan who had been left at the house, 
and as this description did not fit Randal at all, he 
being above medium height, with a beardless face 
which made him seem younger than he probably 
was, it began to look as though in some way Mr. 
Burrows had made a mistake, and that Randal was 
not criminally implicated, though perhaps he had 
stolen the pawn-tickets, and subsequently destroyed 
them when he found that a police investigation was 
inevitable. 

There was no object in further questioning the 
pawnbroker, who pleaded that as the owners of the 
property were rich, and as he had ** honestly *' made 
the loan, they might be persuaded to return to him 
the amount of his advance, adding that he would 
willingly throw off his '* interest." 

Leaving the place, and walking together across 
town, Mr. Barnes said to Mr. Burrows : 

** Tom, I am afraid you are on a wrong scent. 
That man Randal stole those pawn-tickets. He did 
not himself pawn the rings." 

** Maybe," said the younger man, only half con- 
vinced. ** But you mark my word. Randal is in 
this. Don't believe all that * fence * says. He may 
be in with Randal. I fancy that Randal pawned 
the things, but made the Jew put Morgan's name 
on them. Now. that we ask him questions, he de- 
clares that Morgan brought them to him, either to 
protect Randal, or most likely to protect himself. 
Since there is a real Morgan, and he knew the man. 



66 The Phoenix of Crime 

he had no right to write his name on those tickets 
for things brought to him by some one else. * * 

" But why are you so sure that Morgan is inno- 
cent? How do you know that he was the one that 
went off with old Berial when they left the house ? ** 

** Simply because the other man, Randal, took 
the wagon back to the stables.** 

** Are you certain of that ? *' 

'* Absolutely. I have been to the stables, and 
they all tell the same story. Randal took the 
wagon out, harnessing the horse himself, as he often 
did. And Randal brought it back again, after six 
o'clock ; of that they are certain, because the place 
is merely a livery for express wagons, trucks, and 
the like. The regular stable-boys go off between 
six and seven, and there is no one in charge at night 
except the watchman. The drivers usually take 
care of their own horses. Now the watchman was 
already there when Randal came in with the wagon, 
and two of the stable-boys also saw him.*' 

*' Now, Tom, you said that in your belief there 
was another man in this case, — one who really was 
the principal. Have you any suspicion as to that 
man's identity ? " 

** Here 's my idea,*' said Mr. Burrows. ** This 
fellow Randal was sounded by the man who finally 
engaged him for the job, and, proving to be the right 
sort, was engaged. He was to take the body out of 
the coffin and carry it away. The man who hired 
Randal must have been one of the brothers." 

"Why?" 



The Phoenix of Crime 67 

** It must have been, else the opportunity could 
not have been made, for, mark me, it was made. 
See ! The widow was taken to the room to see the 
corpse, and then it was arranged that the coffin 
should be closed and not opened again before the 
funeral. That was to make all sure. Then came 
the closing of the coffin and the departure of two of 
the undertakers. The third, Randal, remained be- 
hind, and while the family lingered at dinner the 
job was done. The body was carried out to the 
wagon and driven off. Now we come to the ques- 
tion, which of the brothers did this ? ** 

** Which have you decided upon ? *' 

** Why, the object of this devilish act was to 
please the widow by preventing this cremation to 
which she objected. The man who concocted that 
scheme thought that when the body should be 
found it would then be buried, which would gratify 
the widow. Now why did he wish to gratify her ? 
Because he *s in love with her. She 's not old, you 
know, and she *s still pretty.'' 

'* Then you think that Mark Quadrant concocted 
this scheme ? * * 

** No ! I think that Amos Quadrant is our man. " 

It seemed destined that Mr. Burrows should sur- 
prise Mr. Barnes. If the older detective was aston- 
ished when he had heard Burrows suggest that Randal 
had been the accomplice in this affair, he was more 
astounded now to hear him accuse the elder brother 
of being the principal. For, had not Mark Quad- 
rant told him that it was Amos who had insisted 



k 



68 The Phoenix of Crime 

upon the cremation ? And that Amos, being the 
elder, had assumed the control of the funeral ? 

** Burrows,'* said Mr. Barnes, ** I hope that you 
are not merely following your impulsive imagina- 
tion ?" 

Mr. Burrows colored as he replied with some heat: 

** You need not forever twit me with my stupidity 
in my first case. Of course I may be mistaken, but 
I am doing routine work on this affair. I have not 
any real proof yet to support my theories. If I had 
I should make an arrest. But I have evidence 
enough to make it my duty to go ahead on definite 
lines. When the mystery clears a little, I may see 
'things differently." 

** I should like to know why you think that Amos 
is in love with his sister-in-law. * * 

** Perhaps it would be safer to claim that he was 
once in love with her. The past is a certainty, the 
present mere conjecture. I got the tip from a slip 
of the tongue made by Dr. Mortimer, and I have 
corroborated the facts since. I was speaking with 
Dr. Mortimer of the possibility of there being any 
ill-feeling between the members of this family, when 
he said : * I believe there was some hard feeling be- 
tween the deceased and his brother Amos arising 
from jealousy.' When he had let the word * jeal- 
ousy ' pass his lips, he closed up like a clam, and 
when I pressed him, tried to pass it off by saying 
that Amos was jealous of his brother's business and 
social successes. But that did not go down with 
me, so I have had some guarded inquiries niade, 



The Phoenix of Crime 69 

with the result that it is certain that Amos loved 
this woman before she accepted Rufus.** 

" What if I tell you that I have heard that the 
younger brother, Mark, is in love with the widow, 
and that it was he who opposed cremation, while it 
was Amos who insisted upon carrying out the wishes 
of his brother ? * * 

** What should I say to that ? Well, I should say 
that you probably got that yarn from Randal, and 
that he had been ' stuffing you,* as the vernacular 
has it, hoping you *11 excuse the vulgar expression." 

It nettled Mr. Barnes to have his younger confrere 
guess so accurately the source of his information, 
and to hear him discredit it so satirically. He 
recognized, however, that upon the evidence offered 
Mr. Burrows had not yet made out his case, and that 
therefore the mystery was yet far from solved. 

** Look here. Burrows," said Mr. Barnes. ** Take 
an older man's advice. Don't go too fast in this 
case. Before you come to any conclusion, find this 
man Jerry Morgan.** 

** Why, there won*t be any trouble about that.** 

** Oh, then you know where he is ? " 

** Why, he is still with Berial. At least he was 
up to last night.** 

** Ah, now we come to it!** Mr. Barnes was 
grratified to find that Burrows had not kept full con- 
trol of his case. " Last night was many hours ago. 
Morgan threw up his job this morning, and left." 

" The devil you say! " 

** Oh, yes,'* said Mr. Barnes, determined now 



70 The Phoenix of Crime 

to make Mr. Burrows a little uncomfortable. '* I 
have no doubt he intends to skip out, but, of course, 
he cannot get away. You have him shadowed ? ** 

** Why, no, I have not,** said Mr. Burrows, de- 
jectedly. ** You see, I did not connect him in my 
mind with — 



a witn *' 



Perhaps he is not connected with the case in 
your mind. Burrows, but he is connected with it in 
fact. He is unquestionably the key to the situation 
at present. With him in our hands we could decide 
whether it was he or Randal who pawned those 
rings. Without him we can prove nothing. In 
short, until you get at him the case is at a stand- 
still." 

** You are right, Mr. Barnes," said Mr. Burrows, 
manfully admitting his error. ** I have been an ass. 
I was so sure about Randal that I did not use 
proper precautions, and Morgan has slipped through 
my fingers. But I '11 find his trail, and I *11 track 
him. I *11 follow him to the opposite ocean if nec- 
essary, but I '11 bring him back.** 

** That is the right spirit, Tom. Find him and 
bring him back if you can. If you cannot, then 
get the truth out of him. Let me say one thing 
more. For the present at least, work upon the 
supposition that it was he who pawned those rings. 
In that case he has at least two hundred dollars for 
travelling expenses." 

*' You are right. I *11 begin at once without 
losing another minute.*' 
Where will you start ? * ' 



( < 



The Phoenix of Crime 71 

** I *11 start where he started — at his own house. 
He 's left there by now, of course, but I '11 have a 
look at the place and talk a bit with the neighbors. 
When you hear from me again, I '11 have Morgan." 



\ 



VIII 



Mr. Barnes returned to his home that night feel- 
ing well satisfied with his day's work. With little 
real knowledge he had started out in the morning, 
and within ten hours he had dipped deeply into the 
heart of the mystery. Yet he felt somewhat like a 
man who has succeeded in working his way into the 
thickest part of a forest, with no certainty as to where 
he might emerge again, or how. Moreover, though 
he had seemingly accomplished so much during the 
first day, he seemed destined to make little headway 
for many days thereafter. On the second day of 
his investigation he ascertained one fact which was 
more misleading than helpful. It will be recalled 
that Mark Quadrant had told him that his brother 
had a scar on the sole of his foot made by cutting 
himself whilst in swimming. Mr. Barnes went to 
the Morgue early, and examined both feet most care- 
fully. There was no such scar, nor was it possible 
that there ever could have been. The feet were ab- 
solutely unmarred. Could it be possible that, in 
spite of the apparently convincing proof that this 
body had been correctly identified, nevertheless a 
mistake had been made ? 

This question puzzled the detective mightily, and 
he longed impatiently for an opportunity to talk 



72 The Phoenix of Crime 

with one of the family, especially with the elder 
brother, Amos. Delay, however, seemed unavoid- 
able. The police authorities, having finally accepted 
the identification, delivered the body to the Quad- 
rants, and a second funeral occurred. Thus two 
more days elapsed before Mr. Barnes felt at liberty 
to intrude, especially as it was not known that he 
had been regularly retained by Mrs. Quadrant. 

Meanwhile nothing was heard from Burrows, who 
had left the city, and, as a further annoyance, Mr. 
Barnes was unable to catch Mr. Mitchel at home 
though he called three times. Failing to meet that 
gentleman, and chafing at his enforced inactivity, 
the detective finally concluded to visit the cemetery 
in the hope of learning what had occurred when Mr. 
Mitchel had inspected the ashes. Again, however, 
was he doomed to disappointment. His request to 
be allowed to examine the contents of the urn was 
refused, strict orders to that effect having been im- 
posed by the Chief of the regular detective force. 

** You see,** explained the superintendent, ** we 
could not even let you look into the urn upon the 
order of one of the family, because they have claimed 
the body at the Morgue, and so they have no claim 
on these ashes. If a body was burned that day, 
then there is a body yet to be accounted for, and 
the authorities must guard the ashes as their only 
chance to make out a case. Of course they can't 
identify ashes, but the expert chemists claim they 
can tell whether a human body or only an empty 
coffin was put into the furnace." 



The Phoenix of Crime 73 

** And are the experts making such an analysis ?" 
asked Mr. Barnes. 

** Yes. The Chief himself came here with two of 
them, the day before yesterday. They emptied out 
the ashes onto a clean marble slab, and looked all 
through the pile. Then they put some in two 
bottles, and sealed the bottles, and then put the 
balance back in the urn and sealed that also. So, 
you see, there is n't any way for me to let you look 
into that urn,** 

** No, of course not,** admitted the detective, re- 
luctantly. ** Tell me, was any one else present at 
this examination besides the Chief and the two 
experts ? '* 

** Yes. A gentleman they called Mitchel, I be- 
lieve.** 

Mr. Barnes had expected this answer, yet it irri- 
tated him to hear it. Mr. Mitchel had information 
which the detective would have given much to share. 

During the succeeding days he made numerous 
ineffectual efforts to have an interview with Amos 
Quadrant, but repeatedly was told that he was 
*' Not at home.** Mrs. Quadrant, too, had left 
town for a rest at one of their suburban homes, and 
Mark Quadrant had gone with her. The city house, 
with its closed shutters, seemed as silent as the 
grave, and the secret of what had occurred within 
those walls seemed almost hopelessly buried. 

** What a pity,*' thought the detective, ** that 
walls do not have tongues as well as ears." 

A week later Mr. Barnes was more fortunate. He 



74 The Phoenix of Crime 

called at the Quadrant mansion, expecting to once 
more hear the servant say coldly, ** Not at home," 
in answer to his inquiry for Mr. Quadrant, when, to 
his surprise and pleasure, Mr. Quadrant himself 
stepped out of the house as he approached it. The 
detective went up to him boldly, and said : 

** Mr. Quadrant, I must have a few words with ' 
you." 

** Must ? ** said Mr. Quadrant with an angry in- 
flection. ** I think not. Move out of my way, and 
let me pass," 

** Not until you have given me an interview," said 
Mr. Barnes firmly, without moving. 

" You are impertinent, sir. If you interfere with 
me further, I will have you arrested," said Mr. 
Quadrant, now thoroughly aroused. 

** If you call a policeman," said Mr. Barnes, 
calmly, ** I will have you arrested." 

*' And upon what charge, pray ? " said Mr. Quad- 
rant, contemptuously. 

" I will accuse you of instigating the removal of 
your brother's body from the coffin." 

** You are mad." 

*' There are others who hold this view, so it would 
be wise for you to move carefully in this matter." 

'* Would you object to telling me what others 
share your extraordinary opinion ? " 

** I did not say that it is my opinion. More than 
that, I will say that it is not my opinion, not at 
present at all events. But it is the view which is 
receiving close attention at police headquarters." 



The Phoenix of Crime 75 

'* Are you one of the detectives ? " 

" I am a detective, but not connected with the 
city force." 

** Then by what right do you intrude yourself 
into this affair ? " 

Mr. Barnes knew that he must play his best card 
now, to gain his point with this man. He watched 
him closely as he answered : 

" I am employed by Mrs. Quadrant." 

There was an unmistakable start. Amos Quad- 
rant was much disturbed to hear th^t his sister-in- 
law had hired a detective, and curiously enough he 
made no effort to hide his feelings. With some 
show of emotion he said in a low voice : 

** In that case, perhaps, we should better have a 
talk together. Come in." 

With these words he led the way into the house, 
and invited the detective into the same room wherein 
he had talked with Mark Quadrant. When they had 
found seats, Mr. Quadrant opened the conversation 
immediately. 

** What is your name ? " he asked. 

** John Barnes," was the reply. 

** Barnes ? I have heard of you. Well, Mr. 
Barnes, let me be very frank with you. Above all 
things it has been my wish that this supposed 
mystery should not be cleared up. To me it is a 
matter of no consequence who did this thing, or 
why it was done. Indeed, what suspicions have 
crossed my mind make me the more anxious not to 
know the truth. Feeling thus, I should have done 



76 The Phoenix of. Crime 

all in my power to hinder the work of the regular 
police. When you tell me that my sister-in-law has 
engaged your services, you take me so by surprise 
that I am compelled to think a bit in order to deter- 
mine what course to pursue. You can readily under- 
stand that my position is a delicate and embarrassing 
one. * ' 

** I understand that thoroughly, and you have my 
sympathy, Mr. Quadrant." 

" You may mean that well, but I do not thank 
you," said Mr. Quadrant, coldly. ** I want no 
man's sympathy. This is purely an impersonal in- 
terview, and I prefer to have that distinctly promin- 
ent in our minds throughout this conversation. Let 
there be no misunderstanding and no false pretenses. 
You are a detective bent upon discovering the author 
of certain singular occurrences. I am a man upon 
whom suspicion has alighted ; and, moreover, guilty 
or innocent, I desire to prevent you from accom- 
plishing your purpose. I do not wish the truth to 
be known. Do we understand one another ? " 

" Perfectly," said Mr. Barnes, astonished by the 
man's manner and admiring his perfect self-control 
and his bold conduct. 

** Then we may proceed," said Mr. Quadrant. 
" Do you wish to ask me questions, or will you reply 
to one or two from me ? " 

'* I will answer yours first, if you will reply to 
mine afterwards." 

** I make no bargains. I will answer, but I do 
not promise to tell you anything unless it pleases 



The Phoenix of Crime 77 

me to do so. You have the same privilege. First, 
then, tell me how it happened that Mrs. Quadrant 
engaged you in this case." 

** I called here, attracted merely by the extra- 
ordinary features of this case, and Mrs. Quadrant 
granted me a short interview, at the end of which 
she ofifered to place the matter in my hands as her 
representative." 

** Ah ! Then she did not of her own thought send 
for you ? * ' 

*' No." 

** You told me that the regular detectives are con- 
sidering the theory that I instigated this affair. As 
you used the word instigated, it should follow that 
some other person, an accomplice, is suspected like- 
wise. Is that the idea ? " 

** That is one theory." 

*' And who, pray, is my alleged accomplice ? " 

** That I cannot tell you without betraying con- 
fidence." 

** Very good. Next you declared that you your- 
self do not share this viev. Will you tell me on 
what grounds you exculpate me ? " 

** With pleasure. The assumed reason for this 
act of removing your brother from his coffin was to 
prevent the cremation. Now it was yourself who 
wished to have the body incinerated." 

** You are mistaken. I did not wish it. On the 
contrary, I most earnestly wished that there should 
be no cremation. You see I incriminate myself." 

He smiled painfully, and a dejected expression 



78 The Phoenix of Crime 

crossed his face. For an instant he looked like a 
man long tired of carrying some burden, then 
quickly he recovered his composure. 

** You astonish me," said Mr. Barnes. ** I was 
told by Mr. Mark that you insisted upon carrying 
out your brother's wish in this matter of disposing 
of his body.** 

" My brother told you that ? Well, it is true. 
He and I quarrelled about it. He wished to have a 
regular burial, contrary to our brother's oft-repeated 
injunction. I opposed him, and, being the elder, I 
assumed the responsibility, and gave the orders." 

** But you have admitted that you did not wish 
this?" 

** Do we always have our wishes gratified in this 
world?*' 

The detective, watching the man's face closely, 
again noted that expression of weariness cross his 
features, and an instinctive feeling of pity was 
aroused. Once more the skein became more en- 
tangled. His own suspicion against Mark Quadrant 
rested upon the supposition that the act was com- 
mitted with the intent of making capital out of it 
with the widow, and was based upon the theory that 
Amos wished to have his brother incinerated. If 
now it should transpire that after all it was Amos 
who managed the affair, his motive was a higher 
one, for, while appearing to carry out the wishes of 
his deceased brother, he must have aimed to gratify 
the widow, without admitting her to the knowledge 
that his hand had gained her purpose. This was a 



The Phoenix of Crime 79 

higher, nobler love. Was Amos Quadrant of this 
noble mould ? The question crossing the detective's 
mind met a startling answer which prompted Mr. 
Barnes to ask suddenly : 

** Is it true that, speaking of this cremation, you 
said : * Let him burn ; he *I1 burn in hell anyway ' ? ** 

Amos Quadrant flushed deeply, and his face grew 
stern as he answered : 

** I presume you have witnesses who heard the 
words, therefore it would be futile to deny it. It 
was a brutal remark, but I made it. I was exasper- 
ated by something which Mark had said, and 
replied in anger.*' 

** It is a sound doctrine, Mr. Quadrant," said the 
detective, ** that words spoken in anger often more 
truly represent the speaker's feelings than what he 
says when his tongue is bridled." 

" Well?" 

*' If we take this view, then it is apparent that you 
did not hold a very high regard for your brother." 
That is quite true. Why should I ? " 
He was your brother." 

And because of the accident of birth, I was 
bound to love him ? A popular fallacy, Mr. Barnes. 
He was equally bound, then, to love me, but he did 
not. Indeed he wronged me most grievously." 

** By marrying the woman you loved ? " 

Mr. Barnes felt ashamed of his question, as a 
surgeon often must be sorry to insert the scalpel. 
To his surprise it elicited no retort. Mr. Quadrant's 
reply was calmly spoken. All he said was: 



4 i 



4 1 



t < 



8o The Phoenix of Crime 

** Yes, he did that." 

** Did she know ? *' ventured the detective hesi- 
tatingly. 

** No, I think not — I hope not." 

There was a painful pause. Mr. Quadrant looked 
down at the floor, while Mr. Barnes watched him, * 
trying to decide whether the man were acting a part 
with intent to deceive, as he had announced that he 
would not hesitate to do ; or whether he were telling 
the truth, in which case the nobility of his character 
was brought more into perspective. 

** Are you sure," said Mr. Barnes after a pause, 
** that the body taken from the river was that of 
your brother Rufus ? " 

** Why do you ask that ? " said Mr. Quadrant, on 
the defensive at once. ** Can there be any doubt ? " 

** Before I reply, let me ask you another question. 
Did your brother Rufus have a scar on the sole of 
his foot ?" 

The other man started perceptibly, and paused 
some time before answering. Then he asked : 

** What makes you think so ? " 

*' Mr. Mark Quadrant told me that his brother 
had such a scar, caused by gashing his foot while in 
swimming." 

** Ah, that is your source of information. Well, 
when Mark told you that his brother had met with 
such an accident, he told you the truth." 

** But did the accident leave a scar?" Mr. 
Barnes thought he detected a carefully worded 
evasive answer. 



The Phoenix of Crime 8i 

** Yes, the cut left a bad scar; one easily noticed." 

'* In that case I can reply to your question. If, 
as you both say, your brother had a scar on the sole 
of his foot, then there exists considerable doubt as 
to the identification of the body which was at the 
Morgue, the body which you have both accepted 
and buried -as being that of your relative. Mr. 
Quadrant, there was no scar on that body.** 

** Odd, is n't it ?" said Mr. Quadrant, without 
any sign of surprise, 

" I should say it is very odd. How do you sup- 
pose it can be explained ? ** 

** I do not know, and, as I have told you be- 
fore, I do not care. Quite the reverse; the less 
you comprehend this case the better pleased I 
shall be." 

" Mr. Quadrant," said Mr. Barnes, a little nettled, 
*' since you so frankly admit that you wish me to 
fail, why should I not believe that you are telling 
me a falsehood when you state that your brother 
told me the truth ?" 

** There is no reason that I care to advance," said 
Mr. Quadrant, ** why you should believe me, but if 
you do not, you will go astray. I repeat, what my 
brother told you is true." 

It seemed to the detective that in all his varied 
experience he had never met with circumstances so 
exasperatingly intricate. Here was an identification 
for many reasons the most reliable that he had 
known, and now there appeared to be a flaw of such 
a nature that it could not be set aside. If the body 

6 



82 The Phoenix of Crime 

was that of Mr. Quadrant, then both these men had 
lied. If they told the truth, then, in spite of science, 
the doctors, and the family, the identification had 
been false. In that case Rufus Quadrant had been 
cremated after all, and this would account for the 
statement in Mr. Mitchel's note that a human body 
had been incinerated. Could it be that these two 
brothers were jointly implicated in a murder, and 
had pretended to recognize the body at the Morgue 
in order to have it buried and to cover up their 
crime ? It seemed incredible. Besides, the coinci- 
dence of the external and internal diseases was too 
great. 

** I would like to ask you a few questions in rela- 
tion to the occurrences on the day and evening pre- 
ceding the funeral,** said Mr. Barnes, pursuing the 
conversation, hoping to catch from the answers 
some clue that might aid him. 

** Which funeral ? " said Mr. Quadrant. 

** The first. I have been told that you and your 
brother were present when the widow last viewed 
the face of her husband, and that at that time, 
about five o*cIock, you jointly agreed that the coffin 
should not be opened again. Is this true ? '* 
Accurate in every detail.** 
Was the coffin closed at once ? That is, before 
you left the room ? ' * 

'* The lower part of the coffin-top was, of course, 
in place and screwed fast when we entered the 
room. The upper part, exposing the face, was 
open. It was this that was closed in my presence." 



( i 



( ( 



The Phoenix of Crime 83 

** I would like to get the facts here very accur- 
ately, if you are willing. You say, closed in your 
presence. Do you mean merely covered, or was 
the top screwed fast before you went out of the 
room, and, if so, by whom ? " 

" Mark took our sister away, but Dr. Mortimer 
and myself remained until the screws were put in. 
Mr. Berial himself did that." 

** Did you observe that the screws were, odd ? 
DiflFerent from common screws ? " 

Mr. Barnes hoped that the other man would be- 
tray something at this point, but he answered quite 
composedly : 

*' I think I did at the time, but I could not de- 
scribe them to you now. I half remember that Mr. 
Berial made some such comment as * No one can get 
these out again without my permission.' " 

" Ah! He said that, did he ? Yet some one 
must have gotten those screws out, for, if your 
identification was correct, your brother's body was 
taken out of that casket after the undertaker had 
put in those screws, which he said could not be re- 
moved without his permission. How do you suppose 
that was accomplished ? " 

** How should I know, Mr. Barnes, unless, in- 
deed, I did it myself, or instigated or connived at 
the doing ? In either case, do you suppose I would 
give you any information on such a point ? " 

** Did your brother Rufus have any rings on his 
fingers when placed in the coffin?" asked Mr. 
Barnes, swiftly changing the subject. 



84 The Phoenix of Crime 

** Yes — three : a diamond, a ruby, and a ring bear- 
ing his initial set in diamonds." 

** These rings were not on the body at the 
Morgue." 

** Neither was that scar," said Mr. Quadrant, with 
a suppressed laugh. 

*' But this is different," said Mr. Barnes. ** I 
did not find the scar, but I have found the rings." 

'* Very clever of you, I am sure. But what does 
that prove ? " 

** It proves that your brother's body was taken 
from the coffin before the coffin was placed in the 
crematory furnace." 

Illogical 'and inaccurate," said Mr. Quadrant. 

You prove by the recovery of the rings, merely 
that the rings were taken from the coffin." 

** Or, from the body after it was taken out," in- 
terjected Mr. Barnes. 

** In either case it is of no consequence. You 
have rooted up a theft, that is all. Catch the thief 
and jail him, if you like. I care nothing about 
that. It is the affair of my brother's death and 
burial that I wish to see dropped by the inquisitive 
public." 

** Yes, but suppose I tell you that the theory 
IS that the man who stole the rings was your ac- 
complice in the main matter ? Don't you see that 
when we catch him, he is apt to tell all that he 
knows ? ' ' 

** When you catch him ? Then you have not 
caught him yet. For so much I am grateful." He 






<< 

i < 



The Phoenix of Crime 85 

did not seem to care how incriminating his words 
might sound. 

'* One thing more, Mr. Quadrant. I understand 
that you retired at about ten o'clock on that night — 
the night prior to the first funeral, I mean. You 
left your brother Mark down here ? " 
Yes.'* 

Later you came downstairs again." 
You seem to be well posted as to my move- 
ments.'* 

** Not so well as I wish to be. Will you tell me 
why you came down ? " 

*' I have not admitted that I came downstairs." 

*' You were seen in the hall very late at night, or 
early in the morning. You took the lamp out of 
the room where the casket was, and came in here 
and looked at your brother, who was asleep. Then 
you returned the lamp and went upstairs. Do you 
admit now that you had just come downstairs ? " 

** I admit nothing. But to show you how little 
you can prove, suppose I ask you how you know 
that I had just come downstairs ? Why may it not 
be that I had been out of the house, and had just 
come in again when your informant saw me ? " 

** Quite true. You might have left the house. 
Perhaps it was then that the body was taken away ? ' ' 

*' If it was taken away, that was certainly as good 
a time as any. 

*' What time ? 

** Oh, let us say between twelve and two. Very 
few people would be about the street at that hour, 



♦ » 



> > 



86 The Phoenix of Crime 

and a wagon stopping before a door would attract 
very little attention. Especially if it were an under- 
taker's wagon.*' 

** An undertaker's wagon?" exclaimed Mr. 
Barnes, as this suggested a new possibility. 

** Why, yes. If, as you say, there was an accom- 
plice in this case, the fellow who stole the rings, you 
know, he must have been one of the undertaker's 
men. If so, he would use their wagon, would he 
not?" 

" I think he would," said Mr. Barnes sharply. 
*' I thank you for the point. And now I will leave 
you. 



IX 



Mr. Barnes walked rapidly, revolving in his 
mind the new ideas which had entered it during the 
past few minutes. Before this morning he had im- 
agined that the body of Rufus Quadrant had been 
taken away between five and six o'clock, in the 
undertaker's wagon. But it had never occurred to 
him that this same wagon could have been driven 
back to the house at any hour of the day or night, 
without causing the policeman on that beat to sus- 
pect any wrong. Thus, suddenly, an entirely new 
phase had been placed upon the situation. Before, 
he had been interested in knowing which man 
had been left behind; whether it had been Mor- 
gan or Randal. Now he was more anxious to know 
whether the wagon had been taken again from the 



The Phoenix of Crime 87 

stable on that night, and, if so, by whom. Conse- 
quently he went first to the undertaker's shop, in- 
tending to interview Mr. Berial, but that gentleman 
was out. Therefore he spoke again with Randal, 
who recognized him at once and greeted him cor- 
dially. 

** Why, how do you do,** said he. " Glad 
you 're round again. Anything turned up in the 
Quadrant case ? * ' 

** We are getting at the truth slowly," said the 
detective, watching his man closely. " I would 
like to ask you to explain one or two things to me 
if you can." 

** Maybe I will, and maybe not. It would n't do 
to promise to answer questions before I hear what 
they are. I ain't exactly what you would call a 
fool." 

" Did you not tell me that it was Morgan who 
was left at the house after the coffin was closed, and 
that you came away with Mr. Berial ? " 

** Don't remember whether I told you or not. 
But you 've got it straight." 

" But they say at the stables that it was you who 
drove the wagon back there ? " 

" That 's right, too. What of it ? " 

*' But I understood that Morgan brought the 
wagon back ? " 

** So he did; back here to the shop. He had to 
leave all our tools and things here, you see. Then 
he went off to his dinner, and I took the horse and 
wagon round to the stables. ' ' 



88 The Phoenix of Crime 



** Where do you stable ? " 

*' Harrison's, Twenty-fourth Street, near Lex." 

*' Now, another matter. You told me about the 
loss of those rings ? ** 

** Yes, and I gave you the tip where you might 
find them again. Did you go there ? ** 

** Yes; you were right. The rings were pawned 
exactly where you sent me.** 

** Oh, I don't know," said the fellow, airishly. 
** I ought to be on the police force, I guess. I can 
find out a few things, I think." 

** It is n't hard to guess what you know," said 
the detective, sharply. 

** What do you mean ? " Randal was on the de- 
fensive at once. 

** I mean," said Mr. Barnes, *' that it was you 
who pawned those rings." 

" That 's a lie, and you can't prove it." 

** Don't be too sure of that. We have the pawn 
tickets. 

This shot went home. Randal looked frightened, 
and was evidently confused. 

** That 's another lie," said he, less vigorously. 
" You can't scare me. If you have got them, which 
you have n't, you won't find my name on them." 

** No ; you used your friend Morgan's name, 
which was a pretty low trick. ' ' 

** Look here, you detective," said Randal bluster- 
ingly, ** I don't allow no man to abuse me. You 
can't talk that way to me. All this talk of yours is 
rot. That 's what it is, rot! " 



The Phoenix of Crime 89 

*' Look here, Randal. Try to be sensible if you 
can. I have not yet made up my mind whether 
you are a scoundrel or a fool. Suppose you tell me 
the truth about those tickets. It will be safest, I 
assure you." 

Randal looked at the detective and hesitated. 
Mr. Barnes continued : 

** There is no use to He any longer. You were 
shadowed, and you were seen when you tore up the 
tickets. The pieces were picked up and put to- 
gether, and they call for those rings. Don't you 
see we have you fast unless you can explain how 
you got the tickets ? * * 

" I guess you *re givin' it to me straight,** said 
Randal after a long pause. ** I guess I better take 
your advice and let you have it right. One after- 
noon I saw Morgan hide something in one of the 
coffins in the shop. He tucked it away under the 
satin linin*. I was curious, and I lookfed into it 
after he *d gone that night. I found the pawn 
tickets. Of course I did n't know what they were 
for except that it was rings. But I guessed it was 
for some stuff he 'd stolen from the corpse of some- 
body. For it was him took the other jewels I told 
you about, and I seen him with a screw-driver the 
match to the boss's. So I just slipped the tickets 
in my pocket thinkin' I *d have a hold on him. 
Next day I read about this man bein* found in the 
river, and I stopped to the Morgue, and, just as I 
thought, his rings was gone. I worried over that 
for an hour or two, and then I thought I better not 



go The Phoenix of Crime 

keep tht tickets, so I tore them up and threw them 
away." 

** That, you^say, was the night after this affair 
was published in the papers ? ** 

** No; it was the same night." 

** That is to say, the night of that day on which I 
came here and had a talk with you ? ** 

*' No, it was the night before. You *re thinkin* 
about the mornin* papers, but I seen it first in the 
afternoon papers." 

This statement dispelled a doubt which had en- 
tered the mind of the detective, who remembered 
that Mr. Burrows had told him that the pawn-ticket 
incident had occurred on the evening previous to 
their meeting. This explanation, however, tallied 
with that, and Mr. Barnes was now inclined to credit 
the man's story. 

** Very good," said he. " You may be telling 
the truth. If you have nothing to do with this 
case, you ought to be willing to give me some 
assistance. Will you ? * ' 

Randal had been so thoroughly frightened that 
he now seemed only too glad of the chance to win 
favor in the eyes of Mr. Barnes. 

" Just you tell me what you want, and I *m your 
man," said he. 

*' I want to find out something at the stable, and 
I think you can get the information for me better 
than I can myself." 

"I '11 go with you right away. The boy can 
mind the shop while we 're gone. Charlie, you just 



The Phoenix of Crime 91 

keep an eye on things till I get back, will you ? 1 
won't be out more 'n ten minutes. Come on, Mr. 
Barnes, I *m with you." 

On the way to the stable Mr. Barnes directed 
Randal as to what he wished to learn, and then at 
his suggestion waited for him in a liquor saloon near 
by, while he went alone to the stable. In less than 
ten minutes Randal hurried into the place, flushed 
with excitement and evidently bubbling over with 
importance. He drew the detective to one side and 
spoke in whispers. 

** Say," said he, *' you 're on the right tack. 
The wagon was out again that night, and not on 
any proper errand, neither." 

" Tell me what you have learned," said Mr. 
Barnes. 

** Of course the night watchman ain't there now, 
but Jimmy, the day superintendent, is there, and I 
talked with him. He says there was some funny 
business that night. First I asked him about the 
wagon bein* out or not, and he slaps his hand on 
his leg, and he says : * By George ! ' says he, * that 's 
the caper. Did n't you put that wagon in its right 
place when you brung it in that afternoon? ' he says 
to me. * Of course, ' says I ; * where do you think 
I 'd put it ?' * Well,' says he, * next mornin' it 
was out in the middle of the floor, right in the way 
of everything. The boys was cussin' you for your 
carelessness. I was n't sure in my own mind or I 
would have spoke ; but I thought I seen you shove 
that wagon in its right place.' * So I did,* says I, 



92 The Phoenix of Crime 

* and if it was in the middle of the stable, you can 
bet it was moved after I left. Now who moved 
it ? * * I don't know,' says he, * but I '11 tell you 
another thing what struck me as odd. I did n't 
have nothin' particular to do that night, and I 
dropped in for an hour or so to be sociable like with 
Jack' — that 's the night watchman. * While I was 
there,' he goes on, * while I was there, who should 
come in but Jerry Morgan! He did n't stop long, 
but he took us over to the saloon and balled us off ' — 
that means he treated to drinks. * Next day I come 
round about six o'clock as usual,' says Jimmy, goin' 
on, * and there was Jack fast asleep. Now that 's 
the fust time that man ever dropped off while on 
watch, and he 's been here nigh on to five years. I 
shook him and tried every way to 'waken him, but 
it did n't seem to do no good. He 'd kind of start 
up and look about dazed, and even talk a bit, but as 
soon as I 'd let up, he 'd drop off again. I was 
makin* me a cup of coffee, and, thinkin' it might 
rouse him, I made him drink some, and, do you 
know, he was all right in a few minutes. At the 
time I did n't think much about it, but since then 
I have thought it over a good deal, and, do you 
know what I think now ? ' * No,' says I ; * what do 
you think ?' * I think,' says he, * I think that 
Jimmy was drugged, and if he was, Jerry Morgan 
done the trick when he balled us off, and you can 
bet it was him took that wagon out that night.' 
That 's the story Jimmy tells, Mr. Barnes, and it 's 
a corker, ain't it ? " 



The Phoenix of Crime 93 

** It certainly is important," said Mr. Barnes. 

Once more he had food for thought. This narra- 
tive was indeed important; the drowsiness of the 
watchman and his recovery after drinking coffee 
suggested morphine. The detective likewise re- 
called the story of the butler who claimed that he 
had seen Mark Quadrant asleep while he was sup- 
posed to be guarding the coffin. Then, too, there 
was the empty paper which had once held some 
powder, and which he had himself found in the 
room where Mark Quadrant had slept. Had he too 
been drugged ? If so, the question arose, Did this 
man Morgan contrive to mix the morphine with 
something which he thought it probable that the one 
sitting up with the corpse would drink, or had Amos 
given his brother the sleeping-potion ? In one case 
it would follow that Morgan was the principal in 
this affair, while in the other he was merely an ac- 
complice. If his hand alone managed all, then it 
might be that he had a deeper and more potent 
motive than the mere removal of the body to avoid 
cremation, the latter being a motive which the de- 
tective had throughout hesitated to adopt because 
it seemed so weak. If Morgan substituted another 
body for the one taken from the coffin, then the 
statement of Mr. Mitchel that a body had been 
cremated was no longer a discrepancy. There was 
but one slightly disturbing thought. All the theo- 
rizing in which he now indulged was based on the 
assumption that Randal was not deceiving. Yet 
how could he be sure of that ? Tom Burrows would 



94 The Phoenix of Crime 

have said to him: " Mr. Barnes, that fellow is lying 
to you. His story may be true in all except that it 
was himself and not Morgan who did these things." 
For while he had thought it best to let Randal go 
alone to the stable to make inquiries, this had 
placed him in the position of receiving the tale at 
second-hand, so that Randal might have colored it 
to suit himself. For the present, he put aside these 
doubts and decided to pursue this clue until he 
proved it a true or false scent. He dismissed Ran- 
dal with an injunction to keep his tongue from 
wagging, and proceeded to the house of the man 
Morgan, regretting now that he had not done so 
before. 

The tenement on Eleventh Avenue was one of 
those buildings occupying half a block, having stores 
on the street, with narrow, dark, dismal hallways, 
the staircases at the farther end being invisible from 
the street door, even on the sunniest days, without 
a match. Overhead, each hallway offered access to 
four flats, two front and two back, the doors being 
side by side. These apartments each included two 
or three rooms and what by courtesy might be called 
a bathroom, though few indeed of the tenants 
utilized the latter for the purpose for which it had 
been constructed, preferring to occupy this extra 
space with such of their impedimenta as might not 
be in constant use. 

When one enters a place of this character asking 
questions, if he addresses any of the adults he is 
likely to receive scant information in reply. Either 



The Phoenix of Crime 95 

these people do not know even the names of their 
next-door neighbors, or else, knowing, they are un- 
willing to take the trouble to impart the knowledge. 
The children, however, and they are as numerous 
as grasshoppers in a hayfield, not only know every- 
thing, but tell what they know willingly. It is also 
a noteworthy fact that amidst such squalor and filth, 
with dirty face and bare legs, it is not uncommon 
to find a child, especially a girl, who will give answers, 
not only with extreme show of genuine intelligence, 
but, as. well, with a deferential though dignified 
courtesy which would grace the reception-rooms of 
upper Fifth Avenue. 

It was from such an urchin, a girl of about twelve, 
that Mr. Barnes learned that Jerry Morgan had lived 
on the fifth floor back. 

But he 's gone away, I guess," she added. 
Why do you think so ? ** asked Mr. Barnes. 
Oh, 'cause he ain't been in the saloon 'cross the 
way for 'bout a week, and he did n't never miss 
havin' his pint of beer every night 's long 's he 's 
been here." 

"Do you think I could get into his room?" 
asked Mr. Barnes. 

" I could get you our key, an' you could try," 
suggested the girl. ** I reckon one key will open 
any door in this house. It 's cheaper to get locks 
in a bunch that way, I guess, an' besides, poor folks 
don't get robbed much anyhow, an' so they ain't 
got no 'casion to lock up every time they go out. 
What little they 've got don't tempt the robbers, I 



a 
it 
it 



i 



96 The Phoenix of Crime 

guess. Maybe the * punushment fits the crime ' too 
quick.** 

** * The punishment fits the crime,* you think," 
said Mr. •Barnes with a smile. " Where did you 
get that from ? * * 

" Oh, I seen the Mikado oncet,*' said the girl 
rather proudly. ** But I did n't mean what you 
said; I said it fits* too quick*; that *s too snug, 
you know, though sometimes it *s * quick ' too. 
You see, I guess they don't get enough out of flats 
like these to pay for the risk. * * 

** You are quite a philosopher,'* said Mr. Barnes, 
approvingly. " Now run and get the key, and we 
will see whether it fits or not." 

She hurried upstairs, and was awaiting Mr. Barnes, 
with the key in her hand, when he reached the third 
landing. This she gave to him, and then followed 
him up the remaining flights, where she pointed out 
the door which led into Morgan's flat. The key 
was not needed, as the door was not locked, and the 
detective pushed it open and entered. The room 
seemed bare enough, what little furniture there was 
being too evidently the product of a second-hand 
furniture store. There seemed little hope of finding 
anything helpfulto his investigation in this room, yet 
the detective, with his usual thoroughness, examined 
every drawer, and every corner or crevice in which 
anything might have been hidden, or have been ac- 
cidentally dropped, and at last he did discover some- 
thing which more than repaid him. 

In the. darkest corner of the dark closet, where 



The Phoenix of Crime . 97 

perhaps it had dropped unperceived, he found an 
old vest, of no value in itself. But a search of the 
pockets brought an exclamation of gratification to 
the detective's lips, as from one of them he drew 
forth a folded paper still containing a whitish powder. 
Mr. Barnes was certain that this powder was mor- 
phine, and at length he felt his feet on solid ground 
in trailing the criminal. No longer need he doubt 
Randal. His story of the probable drugging of the 
night watchman at the stable now became not only 
credible, but probable. Thinking that he might 
gain something by further questioning the girl, Mr. 
Barnes said : 

* ' Why, here is some medicine ! Perhaps he was 
sick and has gone away for his health.** 

With the keen intelligence of her class, the girl 
replied : 

** Some folks go away for their health without 
bein' sick.*' 

" How do you mean ? " 

" When it gets so it ain't healthy for them to 
stay in town, you know.*' 

** You mean for fear of the police ? " 

"Sure! What else ? " 

** But do you think that this man Morgan would 
do anything that would make him afraid of meeting 
a policeman ? " 

" Oh, I don't know. But * birds of a feather flock 

together,' you know. One of his pals was pinched, 

and he 's workin' for the country now, on the 

Island." 
7 



98 The Phoenix of Crime 

" Who was that ? ** Mr. Barnes did not regret the 
time spent in talking with this observing youngster. 

** I don't know his right name. They called him 
Billy the Red, over to the saloon.** 

Mr. Barnes started. This was a clue indeed. 
This was a well-known criminal whom she had 
named ; one who had earned his sobriquet by kill- 
ing two men in a barroom fight, when he had been 
one of the celebrated Whyo gang. If Morgan con- 
sorted with such as he, there could be little doubt 
as to his social status. 

" You say Billy the Red was one of Morgan's 
pals. Did he have any others that you know of ? " 
Mr. Barnes continued. 

** Well, he used to be with him most till he went up, 
but lately he 's been travellin* with Tommy White." 

" Where can I find him ; do you know ? *' 

" Better look him up on the Island, too, I guess. 
He ain't been round here for quite some days." 

'* Perhaps he does not come because Morgan is 
away ? ' ' 

** Oh, no, that can't be, 'cause he stopped showin' 
up before Morgan left. The neighbors was begin- 
nin' to wonder and talk, just 'bout the time Morgan 
skipped. You see, Tommy White he lived right 
next door, in the next flat, him and Nellie." 
Ah, he had a wife ? " 

I don't know about that. She was his girl any- 
way, though some thought Morgan was sweet on 
her too." 

Mr. Barnes thought the fog was lifting. 



< t 



« « 



< < 



The Phoenix of Crime 99 

" Where is this Nellie now ? " 

** You can search me! She 's gone too. The 
hull three has skipped out.** 

What, all three at the same time ? " 
No, that 's the funny part of it. That 's what 
makes folks talk. You see, we did n't see nothin* 
of Tommy White for two or three days, but Nellie 
she was round all right. But when Morgan he cut 
it, Nellie she lit out too.** 

** Let me get this right, my girl. And mind you 
make no mistake, for this is important. * * 

" I ain*t makin* no mistakes, mister. I *m givin* 
it to you dead right, and that 's more *n you *d get 
out of anybody else in this castle. But I *ve got 
my reasons, and,** this she added with a sly wink, 
** you ain*t fooled me any, you know. You 're a 
detective, that *s what you are.*' 

** What ftiakes you think so? " 

" Oh, there ain*t much to guess. People dressed 
like you don't come to a place like this and nose 
into another man's rooms just for amusement. Not 
much they don't. It 's business with you." 

" Well, never mind that. Tell me, are you sure 
that White disappeared first, and that the girl was 
here afterwards, but that she has not been seen since 
Morgan went away ? " 

** That 's right. You got it straight the first 
time. Now what do you make of it ? I know my 
own opinion.** 

" Suppose you tell me your opinion first," said 
Mr, Barnes, anxious to hear her answer. 




lOO The Phoenix of Crime 

" Well," said the girl, " it *s very simple, what I 
think. I think Tommy *s been done for.*' 

"Done for?" Mr. Barnes comprehended her 
meaning but preferred to have her speak more 
plainly. 

** Yes, done for, that 's what I said. They Ve 
put him out of the way, those two. And if that *s 
right, it 's a shame, 'cause Tommy was a good fel- 
low. It was him took me to the theatre, that time 
when I seen the Mikado." 

Evidently this one visit to a theatre had been an 
event in her weary little life, and the man who had 
given her that bit of pleasure and had afforded her 
that one glimpse of what she would have described 
as the *' dressed-up folks," had by that act endeared 
himself to her childish heart. If he had been in- 
jured, her little soul longed for vengeance, and she 
was ready to be the instrument which might lead 
Justice to her victim. 

Mr. Barnes began to believe that the solution of 
this mystery was near at hand. He left the build- 
ing, thanking the child for what she had told him, 
and promising to find out what had become of her 
friend Tommy White. Crossing the street he en- 
tered the saloon where the girl had told him that 
Morgan had been in the habit of buying his daily 
pint of beer. By talking with the bartender he 
hoped to elicit further information. 

The gentlemanly dispenser of liquid refreshment, 
whose constant boast was that he knew how to 
manufacture over three hundred different mixed 



The Phoenix of Crime loi 

drinks without using any intoxicant, stood beside 
the mahogany counter, polishing up the glasses, 
which he piled in an imposing pyramid on the shelf 
at the back, where the display was made doubly 
attractive by the plate mirror behind. His hair was 
scrupulously brushed and his short white coat was 
immaculately clean. Fortunately there was no one 
else in the place, so that the detective was afforded 
a good opportunity for free conversation. He asked 
for a Manhattan cocktail, and admired the dexterity 
with which the man prepared the drink. Kaising it 
to his lips and tasting it as a connoisseur might, 
Mr. Barnes said : 

" Could not be better at the Waldorf." 

** Oh, I don't know," said the fellow, deprecat- 
ingly, but pleased at the implied compliment. 

'* Your face is very familiar to me," said Mr. 
Barnes; '* have you ever met me before ? " 

*' Never in my life," said the bartender, without 
the slightest change of expression. 

" That 's odd," said Mr. Barnes, pursuing the point 
with a purpose; " I am pretty good at faces. I sel- 
dom forget one, and just as seldom make a mistake. 
I would almost swear I have seen you before." 

" I was tending bar at the Astor House for two 
years. Perhaps you saw me there, ' ' suggested the 
man. 

" Ah, that is it," said Mr. Barnes, pretending to 
accept this explanation ;' *' I often take my luncheon 
there. By the way, I suppose you are pretty well 
acquainted around the neighborhood ? " 



< < 



1 02 The Phoenix of Crime 

" Oh, I know a few people,'* said the man, 
cautiously. 

" You know Tommy White, of course ? " 
Do I?" 
Don't you ?" 

I might, without knowing his name. Our cus- 
tomers don't all leave their cards when they buy a 
drink. I don't know your name, for instance." 

*' Yes, but I do not live in the neighborhood. 
White must come here often." 

'* Well, he has n't been in lately," said the bar- 
tender, and then stopped short as he noted the slip 
that he had made. The detective did not choose to 
appear to notice it, but asked: 

*' That is the point. Is n't it odd that he should 
have disappeared ? ' ' 

** Oh, I don't know. A man can go out of town 
if he wants to, I guess, " 

** Do you know that White went out of town ? " 

'' No." 

** Have you seen Tommy White since Jerry 
Morgan skipped ? " 

** See here! what the devil are you asking me all 
these questions for ? Who are you, anyway, and 
what are you after ? ' ' 

** I am Jack Barnes, detective, but I 'm not after 
you, Joe Allen, alias Fred Martin, alias Jimmy 
Smith, alias Bowery Bill, alias the Plug," 

This sally left the man stolidly unmoved, but it 
affected his attitude towards his questioner, never- 
theless, as he sullenly answered : 



The Phoenix of Crime 103 

** There *s nothing you can get against me, so I 
don't scare even if you know me. If you don't 
want me, what do you want ? " 

*' Look here, Joe," said Mr. Barnes, in friendly, 
confidential tones, ** a bluff does not go with me, 
and you know it never did. Now why did you not 
acknowledge that you knew me when I first came 
in?" 

" What 's the use of courtin* trouble ? I was n't 
sure you 'd remember my face. It 's quite a time 
since we met." 

** True. It is five years since that Bond Street 
affair, and you got three years for that, if I remember 
rightly." 

** Well, I served my time, did n't I ? So that *s 
ended, ain't it ? " 

*' Yes. But what about that little business of the 
postage-stamp robbery out in Trenton ? " 

'* Why, I did n't have no hand in that." 

** Well, two of your pals did, and when they were 
caught and sent up they were square enough not to 
peach on you. The Mulberry Street crowd did not 
know how thick you were with those boys, or you 
might have got into trouble. But I knew, and you 
know that I knew." 

'* Well, what if you did ? I tell you I was n't in 
that." 

" You would not like to be obliged to prove 
where you were that night, would you ? " 

*' Oh, I suppose it 's always hard to prove I was 
one place, when fellows like you go on the stand and 



I04 The Phoenix of Crime 

swear I was somewhere else. So, as I said before, 
what 's the use of courtin* trouble ? *' 

" Now you are sensible, and as I said, I am not 
after you. All I want is some information. Give , 
me another cocktail, and have one yourself.'* 

" Thanks, I will. Go ahead with your catechism ; 
I *11 answer so long as you don't try to make me 
squeal on any of my friends. I *d go up before I 'd 
do that. And you know that." 

** That *s all right. I know you *re square, and 
that is why I feel sure you would not be mixed up 
in a murder." 

" Murder?" 

This time the fellow was frightened. How could 
he be sure that this detective was not trying to 
entrap him ? How could he know positively that 
he had not been accused by some pal who wished 
to shift responsibility from himself to another ? 
This is the Damocles sword that ever hangs over 
the head of the wrong-doer. His most chosen 
companions may either tell of what he has done, 
or accuse him of crime which he has not com- 
mitted. 

** I am afraid so. But what are you worrying 
over ? Did I not tell you that you are not in it ? 
Listen to me, Joe. This Jerry Morgan has skipped 
out of town, and it looks as though he took Tommy 
White's girl Nellie with him. Now, where is 
Tommy White?" 

** I don't know a thing. I swear I don't." 

" Yes, you do. You do not know what has be- 



The Phoenix of Crime 105 

come of him, but you know something. Morgan 
is n't any pal of yours, is he ? " 

*' No." 

** Very well. Then why not tell me what you 
know ? If he has done anything to White, he ought 
not to go free, ought he ? You do not stand in with 
murder, do you ? ** 

** No, I don't. But how do I know there *s been 
any murder ? " 

** You don't know it, but since I suggested it to 
you, you think so. I see that in your face. Now, 
what do you know ? " 

" Well, I don't know much, but what I know I 
don't want used to make another fellow go to the 
chair." 

" That is no affair of yours. You arc not re- 
sponsible for what the law does. Come, I have no 
more time to waste. Tell me what you know, or 
say right out that you will not. Then I will know 
what to do." 

The implied threat decided the man, and without 
further attempt at evasion he said : 

" Well, I suppose there ain't any use my runnin* 
any risk for a man that 's nothin* to me. It 's this 
way : Morgan *s an old-time crook — I suppose you 
know that?" Mr. Barnes nodded, although this 
was news to him. Allen continued: '* He 's been 
at it since he was a kid. Was in the reformatory, 
and learned more there about crooked work in a 
year than he would have picked up in ten outside. 
He 's never done time, though, since he graduated 



io6 The Phoenix of Crime 

from that institution. Learned enough, I guess, to 
keep out of sight of your crowd. Two years ago 
he moved into this neighborhood and since then 
I Ve seen him in here a good deal. He took up 
with Tommy White — a young fellow that would 
have lived straight only he was in bad company, 
and was railroaded with a gang for a job he really 
had no hand in. That settled him. When he came 
out of Sing Sing he was n't likely to go for a straight 
job at a dollar a day, when he could lay around idle 
and pick up a good thing every now and then that 
would keep him going. I guess he and Morgan 
done a good many jobs together; anyway, they 
never was short of money. One thing was funny 
about those two — nobody ever seen them in the 
daytime. They used to say they was * workin',' 
but that did n*t go with the crowd that hangs out 
here. Neither Morgan nor White would work if 
they could help it. They was just like brothers, 
those two, till White took up with this girl Nellie. 
I think Morgan was jealous of his luck from the 
first, 'cause the girl is a peach. One of your real 
blondes, without no bleachin' stuff. She 's got a 
skin like velvet, and hands and feet like a lady. 
White soon found out that his pal was sweet on the 
girl, and many a time they 've rowed over her. 
Finally, about two weeks ago the two of them was 
in here, and they was drinkin' pretty hard and just 
ready for a scrap, when thcf girl comes in. Morgan 
goes up to her and puts his arm^und her and kisses 
her plump. White was mad in a minute, but he 



The Phoenix of Crime 107 

turned on her instead of him and he says, says he : 

* Nellie, I want you to hammer that duffer over the 
head for doin* that,* and he picks up a beer glass 
and hands it to her. Nellie she takes the glass, and 
she says : ' I ' ve heard of a kiss for a blow, ' she says, 

* but a blow for a kiss is a new one on me. It ain't 
that way in the Bible, Tommy, so I guess if you 
want any hammerin* done, you 'd better do it your- 
self. I *m thinkin' of joinin' the Salvation Army, 
you know.' This made Morgan and the crowd 
laugh, and White got fierce. He snatched the glass 
out of Nellie's hand and made for Morgan. But 
Morgan he ducks and lets White go by him, and he 
picks up a beer glass too ; then when White came 
for him again he landed a terrible blow with the 
glass right back of White's ear. Tommy went down 
in a heap and lay on the ground quiverin'. The 
whole thing happened so quick nobody could inter- 
fere. Morgan got sober in a second, I tell you, and 
he was scared. Everybody crowded round, and the 
girl she was a wonder. You 'd think bein' a woman 
she 'd cry and make a fuss? Not a bit of it. She 
got some ice and put it on White's head, and threw 
water in his face, and she puts her ear down to his 
heart, and then she looks up after a bit, and she 
says, as cool as could be : * Boys, he 's only stunned. 
He *11 come round all right. Some of you help get 
him home, and I '11 look after him. He '11 sleep off 
his liquor and he won't know what hurt him when 
he wakes in the QjOTnin'.' Well, Morgan and the 
others they did Drhat she said. They took White 




io8 The Phoenix of Crime 

up and carted him over to his flat, and put him to 
bed. My ! but he was limp, and his face was that 
blue it's been before me ever since/' 

" Did White get over that blow ? " 

** That *s the point. Nellie and Morgan said he 
did; that he was a bit sore next day and had a 
headache. That was likely enough. But when you 
talked about murder a while ago, I admit I got 
scared, cause White 's never been seen since that 
night." 

** You are sure of that ? " 

'* Dead sure. Nellie said he was gone out of 
town, and the boys swallowed the story. But when 
both Morgan and Nellie skipped it looked bad, and 
folks began to talk. As for me, I Ve been nervous 
for days. Why, when that body was picked out of 
the river I just could n't keep away from the Morgue. 
I just had to have a peep at it. I was sure it would 
be White, and that Morgan had pitched him over. 
My, but was n't I glad to see it was another man! " 

Assuring Allen that his story would not be used 
in any way that would bring him into conflict with 
the authorities, Mr. Barnes left the saloon and went 
to his office, feeling that at last this problem had 
been solved. Evidently White had died of his 
wound, and when Morgan learned that the coffin of 
Mr. Quadrant was not to be opened before it was 
consigned to the crematory, he had conceived one 
of the most ingenious schemes ever devised for dis- 
posing of a murdered body. By placing White in 
the coffin and allowing his body to be incinerated, 



The Phcenix of Crime 109 

all traces of his crime would seem to have been ob- 
literated. To accomplish this it was necessary to 
have the use of the undertaker's wagon, and this he 
had managed by drugging the watchman, as well as 
Mark Quadrant. The transfer made, he was still 
left with the other body, and his disposition of that 
was the most ingenious part of the plan. By throw- 
ing the corpse of Rufus Quadrant into the water he 
apparently took little risk. It could not be recog- 
nized as White of course, and if correctly identified 
a mystery would be created that ought to baffle the 
detectives, however clever they might be. Mr. 
Barnes felt that he had been fortunate, to learn so 
much from such unpromising clues. 

At his office he found a telegram and a letter, 
both bearing on the case. The telegram was from 
Mr. Burrows, and informed him that Morgan had 
been captured in Chicago, and would be in New 
York on the following day. This was more than 
gratifying, and Mr. Barnes mentally praised the 
young detective. The letter was from Mr. Mitchel, 
and read : 

'* Friend Barnes: 

** At last I have fathomed the Quadrant mystery. 
Will drop in on you about noon to-morrow and tell 
you how the affair was managed. You will be sur- 
prised, I am sure. 

*' MiTCHEL." 



<< 



Will I ? '' said Mr. Barnes to himself. 



no The Phoenix of Crime 



X 



Mr. Burrows arrived at the offices of Mr. Barnes 
about eleven o'clock on the following morning, 
which much pleased the older detective, who wished 
to have his case complete before the arrival of Mr. 
Mitchel. 

** Well, Tom,*' said Mr. Barnes, cordially, ** so 
you have caught your man and brought him back ? " 

** Did I not promise you that I would ? ** replied 
Mr. Burrows. 

** Yes, but even a cleverer man than yourself can- 
not always hope to keep such a promise. Do you 
know that this fellow, Morgan, is a professional crook 
who has never been caught at his work before ? " 

'* So he has told me," said Mr. Burrows, modestly 
refraining from any boastfulness. 

" He told you the truth in that instance, and I 
trust you have also succeeded in getting a confession 
from him as to his connection with this Quadrant 
matter ? *' 

** He has pretended to make a clean breast of it, 
but of course we must verify his story. One cannot 
place too much faith in the confessions of a crook." 
Does he admit that he took the rings ? *' 
Yes, it seems you were right there.'* 
Does he explain how and why he took the body 
from the coffin ? * * 

** On the contrary, he denies having done so." 

** Then he lies," said Mr. Barnes. ** I have not 
been idle since you went away, but my tale will 



( < 
1 1 



The Phoenix of Crime in 

keep. Let me hear first what Morgan's alleged con- 
fession amounts to." 

** He admits that he stole the rings. He has a 
duplicate of that screw-driver of which old Berial is 
so fond of bragging, and when he was left alone 
with the body, he opened the coffin and took the 
rings, and, in keeping with his limited standard of 
morals, he offers a rather ingenious excuse for his 
act. ' ' 

** I should like to hear a good excuse for robbing 
the dead.'* 

*' That is his point exactly. He says that as the 
dead cannot own property, the dead cannot be 
robbed. As the family had declared that the coffin 
was not to be opened again, Morgan says he con- 
sidered the rings as practically consigned to the 
furnace, and then he asks, ' What was the use of 
seeing stuff like that burned up, when it was good 
money to me ? ' It is a nice point, Mr. Barnes. If the 
owner elects to throw away or destroy his property, 
can we blame a man for appropriating the same ? " 

" We may not tut able to blame him, but we cer- 
tainly have the power to punish him. The law will 
not accept such sophistry as palliation for crime. 
What else does the fellow admit ? " 

'* The rest of his tale is quite interesting, and I 
think would surprise you, unless, indeed, you have 
discovered the truth yourself." 

" I think I could make a shrewd guess," said Mr. 
Barnes. 

*' Well, I wish you would tell me your story first. 



112 The Phcenix of Crime 

You see, after all, I am the legally employed inves- 
tigator of this matter, and I should like to hear your 
story before telling mine, that I may be absolutely 
certain that your results have been arrived at by a 
different line of work, though of course you under- 
stand that I do not for a moment imagine that you 
would intentionally color your story after hearing 
mine." 

'* I understand you perfectly, Tom," said Mr. 
Barnes, kindly, ** and I am not at all offended. 
You are right to wish to have the two stories inde- 
pendently brought before your reasoning faculties. 
Morgan tells you that he stole the rings in the after- 
noon. Perhaps he did, and perhaps he took them 
later. It does not now seem to be material. The 
subsequent facts, as I deduce them from the evi- 
dence, are as follows : Morgan had a pal, who was 
sweet on a girl called Nellie. By the way, did you 
get any trace of her ? " 

'* She was with Morgan when I found him and 
she has come back with us." 

** Good. Very good. It seems that Morgan also 
admired the girl, and that finally he and his pal had 
a saloon fight over her, during which Morgan struck 
the other man with a beer glass. This man fell to 
the floor unconscious, and was taken to his home in 
that condition. He has not been seen in the neigh- 
borhood since. Now we come to another series of 
events. Morgan admits taking the rings. Suppose 
we accept his story. He then left the house and 
drove the wagon back to the shop. Randal took it 



The Phoenix of Crime 113 

from there to the stables, but later in the evening 
Morgan visited the stables and induced the night 
watchman to take a drink. That drink was drugged, 
and the drug was morphine. The watchman slept 
soundly, and there is little doubt that while thus 
unconscious Morgan took the undertaker's wagon 
out of the stable on some errand. There is an in- 
teresting series of links in this chain which convicts 
Morgan of using morphine to accomplish his pur- 
pose. First, it is nearly certain that the watchman 
was drugged ; second, a witness will testify that he 
found Mr. Mark Quadrant sound asleep, when he 
was supposed to be watching the coffin; third, I 
have taken from the pocket of a vest found in Mor- 
gan's rooms a powder which a chemist declares is 
morphine. Is not that fairly good evidence ? " 

** It is good evidence, Mr. Barnes, but it does not 
prove that Morgan took that body from the coffin." 

" What, then, does it show ? " 

** It makes him an accomplice at least. He un- 
doubtedly drugged the watchman and took the 
wagon out of the stables, but beyond that you can 
prove nothing. You have not offered any motive 
that would actuate him in stealing the body." 

'* The motive is quite sufficient, I assure you. 
His pal, whom he struck down with the beer glass, 
and who has not been seen by his neighbors since 
that night, must have died from the blow. It was 
his body that was cremated.". 

Mr. Burrows shook his head, and seemed sorry to 
upset the calculations of his old friend. 

8 



< < 



< < 



< < 



114 The Phoenix of Crime 

*' I am afraid you cannot prove that," said he. 
** Tell me, what was the name of this pal ? Have 
you learned that ? " 

Yes; Tommy White.** 
Do you know him by any other name ? " 
No; but as he is unquestionably a crook he 
probably has a dozen aliases.'* 

** One will suffice at present. Tommy White is 
none other than your disinterested informant, Jack 
Randal.** 

** What ! ** exclaimed Mr. Barnes, recognizing 
instantly that if this were true his whole edifice 
tumbled to the ground. 

** Yes. I think that Morgan has told me a clean- 
cut story, though, as I said before, we must verify 
it. You see, he is a crook and ready to acquire 
other people's property, but I think he has a whole- 
some dread of the electric chair that will keep him 
out of murder. He was at one time a pal of Billy 
the Red, now in Sing Sing. After that fellow was 
put away he took up with Tommy White, alias Jack 
Randal. Randal, it seems, induced Morgan to join 
him in his nefarious schemes. The undertaker has 
told you, perhaps, as he has told me, that he in- 
vented his patent coffin because of numerous grave 
robberies that had occurred in one of the cemeteries. 
He little suspected that the robbers were his two 
assistants. These fellows would steal from the dead, 
while preparing the bodies for burial, if it seemed 
safe, as, for example, was the case with Mr. Quad- 
rant, where it was known that the coffin was not 



1 1 



t ( 



The Phoenix of Crime 115 

again to be opened. In other cases they would 
visit the grave together. Sometimes they merely 
appropriated what jewelry there might be, but in 
not a few instances they stole the bodies as well, 
disposing of them to medical students." 
What a diabolical partnership! " 
Yes, indeed. Now, coming to the saloon fight, 
you are correct enough except as to the results. 
White, or Randal, was unconscious during the greater 
part of the night, and in the morning had but a dim 
recollection of what had occurred. He understood, 
however, that his injury had been the result of a 
fight with Morgan, and also that the girl Nellie had 
* thrown him over,' to adopt the vernacular. He 
therefore left the neighborhood, and though the two 
men continued to work for Berial, they did not re- 
sume their friendship. White evidently was nursing 
his grievances, and only awaited an opportunity to 
make trouble for his old pal Morgan. This he 
hoped to accomplish by the information which he 
gave to you." 

** You will hardly expect me to believe that Mor- 
gan gave up his position and left town without some 
better reason than a mere quarrel with his pal, and 
a petty theft ? " 

" Morgan did not give up his position, nor did he 
leave town of his own volition. He was sent away." 
Sent away ? By whom ? ** 
By the principal in this case. I told you from 
the first that there were two in it. He has admitted 
to me what I did not know, but what I believe now 



< < 



ii6 The Phoenix of Crime 

because you tell me the same story. He confesses 
that he drugged the watchman at the stables and 
then drove the wagon away. But he denies that he 
either took Quadrant's body from the coffin, or in- 
deed that he drove the wagon to the Quadrant 
house. In fact, he says he was paid to get the 
wagon unknown to the watchman, and that he was 
furnished with the powders with which he was to 
drug the man.** 

** Am J to understand that one of the dead man's 
brothers hired Morgan to do this ? '* 

Mr. Barnes was thinking of his conversation with 
Amos Quadrant, during which that gentleman had 
suggested that an undertaker*s wagon might ap- 
proach the house at any hour without attracting 
attention. He was consequently astonished by the 
younger detective's reply. 

** No," said Mr. Burrows; ** he does not impli- 
cate either of the Quadrants. He declares that it 
was old Berial who hired him to do his part of the 
job. 



XI 



New possibilities crowded into the thoughts of 
Mr. Barnes as he heard this unexpected statement. 
Berial hired Morgan to procure the wagon ! Did it 
follow, then, that Berial was the principal, or was 
he in turn but the tool of another ? Amos Quadrant 
had confessed that secretly it had not been his wish 
to have his brother cremated. Yet his was the 



>> 



The Phoenix of Crime 117 

authority which had engaged the undertaker and 
directed the funeral. Had he chosen to avoid the 
cremation without permitting the widow to know 
that his will accomplished her wish, how easy for 
him to engage the. undertaker to carry out his pur- 
pose, oddly planned as it was ! How readily might 
the poor undertaker have been bribed by this wealthy 
man to take the risk ! After all, if this were the ex- 
planation, wherein lay the crime ? By what name 
would it be designated in the office of the district 
attorney ? Yet, even now, when all seemed known, 
two unexplained facts stood out prominently. How 
was it that the foot of the deceased Quadrant showed 
no scar ? And what of the assertion made by Mr. 
Mitchel that a human body had been cremated ? 
Could it be that Berial, taking advantage of the op- 
portunity offered by his employer, had secretly dis- 
posed of some other body, while merely supposed 
to have removed Rufus Quadrant from his coffin ? 
If so, whose body was it that had been cremated, 
and how could identification be looked for among 
the ashes in the urn at the cemetery ? Mr. Barnes 
was chagrined to find such questions in his mind 
with no answer, when Mr. Mitchel might arrive with 
his promised surprise at any moment. Perhaps 
Morgan was lying when he accused the undertaker. 

** Have you been able yet,'* asked Mr. Barnes, 
** to verify any part of this man's story ? " 

** Well, we only arrived at six this morning, but 
I may say yes, I have found some corroborative 
evidence." 



ii8 The Phoenix of Crime 



1 1 
1 1 



i * 



1 1 



What ? " 

I have the shroud in which Rufus Quadrant was 
dressed in his coffin.** 

That is important. Where did you find it ? '* 
In quite- a suggestive place. It was locked up 
in old Beriars private closet at the shop, which we 
searched this morning.** 

** That certainly is significant. But even so, Tom, 
how do we know that this Morgan, who robs the 
dead and has duplicate screw-drivers for opening 
patented coffin fastenings, would hesitate to place a 
shroud where it would seem to substantiate his ac- 
cusation of another ? ** 

** We do not know positively, of course. We 
have not fully solved this mystery yet, Mr. Barnes.** 

** I fear not, Tom,** said Mr. Barnes, glancing at 
the clock as he heard a voice asking for him in the 
adjoining office ; " but here comes a man who claims 
that he has done so.** 

Mr. Mitchel entered and saluted the two men 
cordially, after receiving an introduction to the 
younger. 

'* Well, Mr. Barnes,** said Mr. Mitchel, " shall I 
surprise you with my story, or have you two gen- 
tlemen worked it all out ? '* 

** I do not know whether you will surprise us or 
not,** said Mr. Barnes. ** We do not claim to have 
fully solved this mystery ; that much we will admit 
at once. But we have done a great deal of work, 
and have learned facts which must in the end lead 
to the truth.'* 



The Phoenix of Crime 119 

** Ah, I see. You know some things, but not 
all. The most important fact, of course, would be 
the identity of the body which is the centre of this 
mystery. Do you know that much ? '* 

** I have no doubt that it has been correctly 
identified,*' said Mr. Barnes, boldly, though not as 
confident as he pretended. ** It was the corpse of 
Rufus Quadrant, of course." 

** You are speaking of the body at the Morgue ? *' 

'* Certainly. What other ? '' 

** I alluded to the body which was cremated,*' 
said Mr. Mitchel quietly. 

** It has not been proven that any body was cre- 
mated,** replied Mr. Barnes. 

** Has it not ? I think it has.** 

** Ah, you know that ? Well, tell us. Who was 
the man ? *' 

** The man in the coffin, do you mean ? ** 

** Yes. The man who was cremated in place of 
Mr. Quadrant.** 

** Have you any suspicion ? ** 

" I did have until an hour ago. I supposed that 
the criminal who managed this affair had thus dis- 
posed of the remains of a pal whom he had killed in 
a saloon row — a man called Tommy White.** 

** No, that is wrong. The body cremated was 
the corpse of a woman.** 

*' Of a woman! *' exclaimed both detectives in 
concert. 

*' Yes, gentlemen," said Mr. Mitchel, " it was a 
woman*s body that was placed in the furnace. I 



• « 



I20 The Phoenix of Crime 

think, Mr. Barnes, that I suggested such a possibility 
to you on the day when you first called my attention 
to this affair ? '' 

** Yes. You said it might be a woman as well as 
a man. But that was merely a caution against 
hastily deciding as to the sex of the victim, suppos- 
ing that a murder had been committed and the 
criminal had thus proceeded to hide his crime. But 
subsequent investigations have not brought to us 
even a suspicion that any woman has been foully 
dealt with, who could have been placed in the coffin 
■ i>y.?py y^^^ had the opportunity.** 

*' Whrch[ only' proves, * * said Mr. Mitchel, '* that 
as usual you detectives have worked in routine 
fashion, and consequently, by beginning at the 
wrong end, you have not reached the goal. Now I 
have reached the goal, and I venture the belief that 
I have not done one half of the work that either of 
.you have been compelled to bestow upon your in- 
vestigations.** 

** We cannot all be as intellectually brilliant as 
yourself,** said Mr. Barnes testily. 

** Come, come, Mr. Barnes. No offense meant, 
I assure you. I am only upholding the argument, 
which I have advanced previously, that the very 
routine which gentlemen of your calling feel bound 
to follow often hampers if it does not hinder your 
work. I am merely a tyro, but not being profes- 
sionally engaged on this case I was perhaps freer to 
see things with eyes unblinded by traditional meth- 
ods of work. It is just as the onlooker often sees 



The Phoenix of Crime 121 

an opportunity to win, which the men playing a 
game of chess overlook. The player has his mind 
upon many combinations and sees much that the on- 
looker does not see. So here. You and Mr. Bur- 
rows have probably discovered many things that I 
do not even suspect, but it has been my luck to get 
at the truth. If you care to hear it, I will describe 
in detail how I worked out the problem." 

** Of course we wish to hear the truth,** said Mr. 
Barnes reluctantly; *' that is, if indeed you have 
learned what it is." 

** Very good. As I have said, hampered by the 
seeming necessity of following your investigations 
along customary lines, you probably began with the 
body at the Morgue. I pursued the opposite course. 
The case seemed so unique that I was convinced 
that the motive would prove to be equally uncom- 
mon. If the body at the Morgue were really that 
of Mr. Quadrant, as seemed probable from the 
identifications by the family and the doctor, I was 
sure that it had been taken from the coffin to make 
room for the corpse of another. No other motive 
occurred to my mind which appeared to be ade- 
quate. Consequently I thought that the first 
essential in unravelling the mystery would be* the 
establishment of the fact that a human body had 
been cremated, and then, if possible, to discover 
the identity of that body." 

*' In other words, to identify the ashes of a cre- 
mated body," interjected Mr. Barnes, with a slight 
sneer. 



122 The Phoenix of Crime 

" Just so. That in itself was a problem so novel 
that it attracted my interest. It is usually con- 
sidered that cremation has the objectionable feature 
that it offers a means of hiding the crime of murder. 
This idea has contributed not a little to thwart those 
who have endeavored to make this means of dispos- 
ing of the dead popular. Would it not be an 
achievement to prove that incineration is not neces- 
sarily a barrier against identification ? " 

** I should say so," said Mr. Barnes. 

** So thought I, and that was the task which I set 
myself. I visited the chief of the detective bureau, 
and soon interested him in my theories. He even 
permitted me to be present at the examination of 
the ashes, which was undertaken at my suggestion, 
an expert chemist and his assistant going with us. 
At the cemetery the urn was brought forth and its 
contents spread out on a clean marble slab. It was 
not difficult to discern that a human being had been 
cremated ? " 

" Why was it not difficult ? " 

** When one hears of the ashes of the dead, per- 
haps it is not unnatural to think of these human 
ashes as similar to cigar ashes, or the ashes of a 
wood fire. Where complete combustion occurs the 
residue is but an impalpable powder. But this is 
not commonly the result in the cremation of the 
dead, or at least it does not invariably occur. It 
did not in this instance, and that is the main point 
for us. On the contrary, some of the bones, and 
parts of others, sufficiently retained their form to 



The Phoenix of Crime 123 

be readily distinguishable as having come from the 
human skeleton." 

" As I have never examined a cremated body," 
said Mr. Barnes, ** I must admit that your state- 
ment surprises me. I had supposed that all parts 
of the body would be brought to a similar state. ' 
But even if what you say is true, and granting that 
from pieces of charred bone it could be demonstrated 
that a human being had been burned, still I would 
like you to explain how you could differentiate be- 
tween man and woman." 

** Perhaps it would be difficult, or even impossi- 
ble, judging from the charred bits of skeleton alone. 
But if we remember that a woman's garb is different 
from the dress of a man, we might find a clue. For 
example, if you saw what could unmistakably be 
recognized as parts of corset steels, what would you 
think?" 

** Of course the deduction would be that the body 
had been that of a woman, but I should think it an 
odd circumstance to find that a body prepared for 
burial had been corseted." 

** The same thought occurred to me, and from 
it I drew an important deduction, since sub- 
stantiated by facts. I concluded from the cor- 
set steels that the body had not been prepared 
for burial." 

** I follow you," said Mr. Barnes, now thoroughly 
interested in Mr. Mitchel's analytical method. 
** You mean that this woman was placed in the 
coffin clothed as she had died ? " 



124 The Phoenix of Crime 

** Practically so, but I did not decide that she had 
necessarily died clothed as she was when placed in 
the coffin. My conclusion was that it must have 
been as essential to dispose of the clothing as of the 
body. Thus the clothing would have been placed 
in the coffin with her, even though perhaps not on 
her." 

" A good point! A good point! ** nodded the 
detective, approvingly. 

** So, you see, the ashes of the dead had already 
revealed two clues. We knew that a human being 
had been cremated, and we could feel reasonably 
sure, though not absolutely positive, that it had 
been a woman. Next, the question arose as to 
the identity. If cremation would hide that, then 
the criminal might hope to escape justice by this 
means. ' ' 

** It seems incredible that the ashes could be 
identified, unless indeed some object, provably con- 
nected with a certain person, and which would resist 
i fire, had been placed in the coffin.*' 

** No, that would not satisfy me. A false identi- 
fication could thus be planned by your thoughtful 
murderer. What I sought was some means of 
identifying the actual remains of a cremated body. 
I have succeeded." 

** You have succeeded ? " 

** Yes. I had a theory which has proven to be a 
good one. If some of the bones of the body resist 
cremation, or at least retain their form though cal- 
cined, it should follow that the teeth, being the 



The Phcenix of Crime 125 

most resistant bones, and, moreover, protected by 
being imbedded in other bones, might well be ex- 
pected to remain intact. If not all, at least a suf- 
ficient number of them might be found to serve the 
ends of justice/' 

** Even if you could find the teeth with shape un- 
disturbed, I fail to see how you could identify the 
remains by them.*' 

** The method is as reliable as it is unique. In 
these days of advanced dentistry, the people of this 
country have been educated up to such an apprecia- 
tion of their dental organs that, from the highest to 
the lowliest, we find the people habitually saving 
their teeth by having them filled. I knew by per- 
sonal experience that it is a common practice among 
dentists to register in a book of record all work done 
for a patient. In these records they have blank 
charts of the teeth, and on the diagram of each 
tooth, as it is filled, they mark in ink the size and 
position of the filling inserted. Now while the teeth 
themselves might resist the heat of the furnace, re- 
taining their shapes, we would not expect the fill- 
ings, whether of gold or other material, to do so. 
Thus, I expected to find the teeth with cavities in 
them. I did find fourteen of the teeth fairly whole, 
sufficiently so that we might identify them, and 
know what position in the mouth they had occu- 
pied. No less than ten of these teeth had cavities, 
which, from the regularity of their outline, it was 
fair to assume had been filled. These I took to my 
dentist for an opinion. He was at once interested, 



126 The Phoenix of Crime 

because it seems that members of the dental profes- 
sion have long urged upon the police the reliance 
that may be placed upon the dentist in identifying 
living criminals or unknown dead bodies. He 
examined the charred teeth, and taking a blank 
chart of the mouth, he plotted out the size and posi- 
tions of the fillings which once had been present. 
Another very interesting point was that we found 
two teeth, known as the central incisor and the 
cuspid (the latter commonly called the eye-tooth), 
united together by a staple of platinum. This 
staple had of course resisted the heat because plati- 
num melts at so high a temperature. My dentist 
pointed out to me that this staple had been a found- 
ation for what he called a bridge. One end of the 
staple had been forced into the root of one tooth, 
the other end passing similarly into the other. 
Thus the space was spanned, and an artificial tooth 
had been attached to the bar, thus filling the space. 
He also pointed out that the bar was covered with 
a mass which was evidently the porcelain of the 
tooth which had melted in the furnace." 

** This is very interesting," said Mr. Barnes, " but 
unless you could find the man who did that work, 
you still could not identify the person cremated." 

** My dentist, as I have said, made out for me a 
chart of the person's mouth, which you may ex- 
amine. You will see that it is quite specific. With 
that number of fillings, occupying definite positions 
in special teeth, and coupled with the presence of 
the tooth bridged in and the manner of making the 




CHART FURNISHED 



^ The Phoenix of Crime 127 

bridge, it would be an unexampled coincidence to 
find that two persons had obtained exactly similar 
dental services. Would it not ? *' 

'* That is sound reasoning,** said Mr. Barnes. 

** Very well. I had a statement published in the 
four leading dental magazines, accompanied by a 
facsimile of the chart made by my dentist, and I 
solicited correspondence with any dentist who could 
show a similar chart in his records.** 

** That was a good method, provided, of course, 
the dentist who did the work subscribed to one of 
these magazines.** 

** Of course the advertisement might not meet the 
eye of the dentist who treated the dead woman, but 
even though he were not a subscriber he might hear 
of this matter through some acquaintance, because, 
as I have said, this subject of identification through 
dental work is one that widely interests the dentists. 
However, success rewarded us. I received a letter 
from a dentist in one of the New Jersey towns, 
stating that he believed he could match my chart. I 
lost no time in visiting him, and, after examining his 
book, was satisfied that the person who had been 
cremated that day was an elderly, eccentric woman, 
named Miss Lederle, Miss Martha Lederle.** 

** Mr. Mitchel, you have done a remarkably clever 
bit of work, and though you have succeeded where 
\ have failed, I must congratulate you. But tell 
me, after learning the name of the woman how did 
you trace her to this city ? ** 

** I deserve no credit for that. It seems that 



128 The Phoenix of Crime 

Miss Lederle had long had a little fleshy tumor on 
the inside of her cheek, which had had an opportu- 
nity to grow because of the loss of a tooth. Her 
dentist often advised her to have it removed, lest it 
might become cancerous. She put it off from time 
to time, but recently it had grown more rapidly, and 
at last she called on the dentist and asked him to 
recommend a surgeon. He tells me that he gave 
her the names of three, one residing in Newark, and 
two in this city. Of the New York men, one was 
Dr. Mortimer." 

** By Jove ! Doctor Mortimer ! *' exclaimed Mr. 
Barnes. * * I begin to see daylight. It was he who 
supplied the morphine powders, then ? " 

** Ah, then you know so much ? Yes, Dr. Mor- 
timer instigated the transfer of bodies. As soon as 
I charged him with murder, he thought it safest to 
tell me the truth and throw himself upon my 
mercy." 

** Upon your mercy ?" said Mr. Barnes, mystified. 

** Yes; the man has not committed a crime, at 
least not the crime of murder. It seems that on 
the afternoon of the day before that fixed for the 
funeral of Mr. Quadrant, this Miss Lederle called 
at his office and requested him to remove the tumor 
from her cheek. He consented, and suggested the 
use of cocaine to deaden the parts. The woman 
insisted that she must have chloroform, and the 
doctor explained that in the absence of his assistant 
he would not care to undertake the administration 
of an anaesthetic. But the woman was persistent ; 



The Phoenix of Crime 129 

she offered a liberal fee if the operation could be 
done immediately, since it had required so much 
timie for her to bring her courage to the point of 
having the tumor removed ; then the operation itself 
seemed so simple that at last the surgeon was over- 
ruled, and proceeded. He did cause the patient to 
remove hertorset, and, her garments thoroughly- 
loosened, she was placed on the operating-table. 
He says he administered very little chloroform, and 
had not yet attempted to operate when the patient 
exhibited dangerous symptoms. In spite of his 
most untiring efforts she succumbed, and he found 
himself in the dreadful position of having a patient 
die under an operation, with no witnesses present. 
He closed and locked his office and walked from the 
house in great mental agitation. He called at the 
Quadrants', and heard there that the coffin would 
not again be opened. Then a great temptation 
came to him. The woman had not given him her 
address, nor had she stated who had sent her to Dr. 
Mortimer, merely declaring that she knew him by 
reputation. There was no way to communicate 
with the woman's relatives except by making the 
affair public. He recalled that a similar accident to 
an old surgeon of long-established reputation, where 
several assistants had been present, had nevertheless 
ruined the man's practice. He himself was innocent 
of wrong-doing, except, perhaps, that the law forbade 
him to operate alone, and he saw ruin staring him 
in the face, just at a time, too, when great prosperity 
had appeared to be within his grasp. The under- 



130 The Phoenix of Crime 

taker, Berial, was an old acquaintance, indebted to 
him for many recommendations. 

** The plan seemed more and more feasible as he 
thought of it, and finally he sought out Berial, and 
confided to him his secret. For a liberal fee the 
undertaker agreed to dispose of the body. Dr. 
Mortimer supplied him with a drug with which to 
overcome the watchman at the stables, so that the 
wagon could be taken out unknown. He himself 
visited the Quadrant house, and, under the plea of 
relieving Mark Quadrant of a headache, gave him 
also a dose of morphine. At the appointed time 
Berial arrived at the doctor's office and took away 
the woman's body, first replacing the corset, which, 
of course, they were bound to dispose of. Together 
they went to the Quadrants', and there exchanged 
the bodies. Subsequent events are known to you. 
Thus the truth has arisen. Phoenix-like, from the 
ashes of the dead. The question remaining is, what 
claim has Justice upon the doctor ? Gentlemen, is 
it needful to disgrace that man, who really is a victim 
of circumstances rather than a wrong-doer ? He tells 
me, Mr. Barnes, that he has not had a moment of 
mental rest since you asked him whether ashes could 
be proven to be the residue of a human body." 

** I recall now that he started violently when I 
spoke to him. Perhaps, had I been more shrewd, I 
might have suspected the truth then. The diffi- 
culty of hushing this matter up, Mr. Mitchel, seems 
to be the friends and relatives of the dead woman. 
How can they be appeased "i " 



The Phoenix of Crime 131 

** I will undertake that. I think the real estate 
which she leaves behind will satisfy the one rela- 
tive. I have already communicated with this man, 
a hard, money-grubbing old skinflint, and I think 
that with the assistance of Mr. Berial we can have 
one more funeral that will satisfy the curiosity of 
the few neighbors." 

And thus the matter was permitted to rest. There 
was yet one point which puzzled Mr. Barnes, and 
which never was made clear to him. 

'* What of the scar that I could not find on Rufus 
Quadrant's foot ? " he often asked himself. But as 
he could not ask either of the brothers, he never got 
a reply. Yet the explanation was simple. Mark 
Quadrant told Mr. Barnes that his brother had such 
a scar, his object being to baffle the detective by 
suggesting to him a flaw in the identification. The 
idea occurred to him because his brother Amos 
really had such a scarred foot, and he so worded his 
remark that he literally told the truth, though he 
deceived Mr. Barnes. When the detective repeated 
this statement to Amos, he noticed the care with 
which his brother had spoken, and, in turn, he 
truthfully said that his brother had spoken truth- 
fuUy. 




II 



THE MISSING LINK 

" The object of my visit," began Mr. Barnes, 
''is of such grave importance that I approach it 
with hesitation, and I may even say reluctance. 
Will you give me your closest attention ? " 

** I understood from your note," replied Mr. 
Mitchel, ** that you wished to consult me in regard 
to some case which you are investigating. As you 
are well aware, I take the keenest interest in the 
solving of criminal problems. Therefore proceed. 
But first let me light a Havana. A good cigar 
always aids my perception." 

The two men were in the sumptuous library of 
Mr. Mitchel's new house, which he had bought for 
his wife shortly after their marriage. It was ten in 
the morning, and Mr. Mitchel, just from his break- 
fast-room, was comfortably attired in a smoking- 
jacket. After lighting his cigar, he threw himself 
into a large Turkish chair, rested his head upon the 
soft-cushioned back, and extended his slippered feet 
towards the grate fire, his legs crossed. As he blew 
little rings of smoke towards the detective, he 
seemed absolutely unsuspicious of the story about 
to be told. 

133 



The Missing Link 133 

Mr. Barnes, on the contrary, appeared ill at ease. 
He declined a cigar, and, without removing his over- 
coat, he leaned his left arm on the low marble man- 
tel as he stood talking, his right being free for 
gestures when he wished to emphasize a point. 

After a brief pause he began : 

*' Whilst I am not officially connected with the 
regular police, my young friend Burrows is, and is 
highly esteemed by the Chief. You will remember 
him in connection with the Quadrant case. He 
called upon me about noon on last Sunday. The 
story which he had to tell was the most remarkable 
in some respects that I have heard. Briefly, it is as 
follows : As you know, it is common practice among 
speculating builders to erect a row of houses, finish- 
ing them at one end first, so that, not infrequently, 
one or two of the row may be sold while the me- 
chanics are still at work on the other end. In this 
manner ten houses have been built in this immediate 
vicinity. 

** In the street just back of me," said Mr. Mitchel. 

Mr. Barnes watched him closely at this moment, 
but he seemed entirely composed and merely at- 
tentive. The detective proceeded. 

** It appears that two of these houses have been 
sold and are already occupied. The next four are 
completed, and the sign ** For Sale/* appears in the 
windows. The others are still in the hands of the 
workmen. The four which are for sale are in 
the care of a watchman. They are open for inspec- 
tion during the day, but he is supposed to lock all 



134 The Missing Link 

the doors before going to his home in the evening, 
and to open them to the public again on the follow- 
ing day. According to this man, he locked all the 
> doors of these four houses on Saturday night at six 
o'clock, and opened them again at eight on Sunday 
morning. Between eight and nine he showed two 
parties through one of the houses and, after dismiss- 
ing the last, was sitting on the stoop reading the 
morning paper, when he was startled by hearing a 
scream. A moment later he saw two women rush 
out of the house next to where he sat, and from 
their actions it was evident that they were terribly 
frightened. It was some time before he could get 
any lucid explanation from either, and when he did 
he understood them to intimate that some one had 
been murdered in the house. He asked them to 
show him to the spot, but they most positively de- 
clined. He therefore, with unusual display of com- 
mon sense, summoned a policeman, and with him 
visited the room indicated by the frightened women, 
who made no attempt to run away, though they 
again refused to go into the house, even with the 
officer. What the two men found was horrible 
enough to account for the women's actions. In the 
bathtub lay the body of a woman, the head, hands^ 
and feet having been cut oflf and removed." 

** I should say that, under these circumstances, 
identification would be most difficult," said Mr. 
Mitchel, ** unless, indeed, the clothing might afford 
some clue." 

** The body was nude," said the detective. 



The Missing Link 135 

** In that case, you have to deal with a man who 
has brains." 

** Yes ; the murderer has adopted just such 
methods as I imagine you would pursue, Mr. 
Mitchel, were you in his predicament.'* 

Mr. Mitchel frowned very slightly, and said : 

" You offer me a doubtful compliment, Mr. 
Barnes. Proceed with your case. It is interest- 
ing, to say the least. * ' 

*' It grows more so as we proceed, for we have 
once more an evidence of the futility of planning a 
crime which shall leave no clue behind." 

** Ah, then you have found a clue ? " Mr. Mitchel 
removed his cigar to speak, and did not resume his 
smoking, but seemed more attentive. 

** Listen," said the detective. ** The policeman 
immediately notified his superiors, and by ten 
o'clock Burrows was at the house, having been de- 
tailed to make an examination. Having done so, 
and recognizing that he was face to face with a 
crime of unusual importance, he hastened to solicit 
my assistance, that I might be early upon the scene. 
I am satisfied that I reached the house before any 
material alteration had been made in any of those 
small and minute details which are overlooked by 
the careless eye, but which speak volumes to one 
with experience." 

** I suppose, then, that you can describe what 
existed, from your personal investigation. That is 
more interesting than a report at second hand." 

** I went over the ground thoroughly, as I think 




136 The Missing Link 

you will admit when I have told you all. Here was 
one of those wonderful cases where the criminal 
exercised extreme caution to obliterate all traces of 
the crime. His actions could only be surmised 
through analytical and deductive methods. There 
are some facts which cannot be hidden, and from 
these a keen mind may trace backwards. For ex- 
ample, the head and extremities had been removed, 
and a minute scrutiny of the remaining parts might 
disclose many things. * ' 

** Ah, here we note the triumph of mind over 
matter.*' There was just a slight sneer, which 
nettled the detective. 

Mr. Barnes proceeded with some asperity. In- 
deed, he spoke more like himself ; that is, with less 
hesitancy, as though heretofore he had found the 
story hard to tell, but that now his scruples had 
vanished. 

** An examination of the stumps of the arms proved 
conclusively that a sharp knife had been used, for 
not only had the tendons and vessels been cleanly 
severed, but in two places the cartilage capping the 
ends of the bone had been shaved off smoothly." 

** Come, Mr. Barnes," said Mr. Mitchel, " do not 
dwell so upon unimportant details." 

** The weapon is always counted as a very import- 
ant detail," said Mr. Barnes, sharply. 

'* Yes, yes, I know," said Mr. Mitchel. " But 
you are above the ordinary detective, and you 
surely perceive that it is a matter of no consequence 
whether the knife used was sharp or dull. In either 



The Missing Link 137 

case it could be hidden or destroyed, so that it could 
not be found to serve in evidence." 

" Oh, very well,*' said Mr. Barnes, testily. *' I 
will come to the deductions concerning the neck. 
Here there were several points of interest. Again 
it was evident that a sharp knife was used, and in 
this instance the condition of the edge of the knife 
becomes important." 

" Indeed ! How so ?" 

*' The most minute scrutiny of the body disclosed 
no wound which could have been the cause of death. 
Unless poison had been administered, there are but 
three ways by which death could have been effected." 

** And those are ?" 

" Suffocation, either by choking or otherwise; 
drowning, by holding the head under water in the 
bathtub ; or by some mortal wound inflicted about 
the head, either by a blow, the use of a knife, or 
a pistol shot. I doubted the pistol, because so care- 
ful a man as the assassin evidently was, would have 
avoided the noise. A stab with a knife was possible, 
but unlikely because of the scream which would 
surely result. A blow was improbable, unless the 
man brought the weapon with him, as the house 
was empty, and nothing would accidentally be found 
at hand. To drown the woman, it would have been 
necessary to half fill the tub with water before 
thrusting the victim in it, and such an action would 
have aroused her suspicion. Besides, the clothes 
would have been wet, and this would have interfered 
with burning them. Thus by exclusion I arrived at 




138 The Missing Link 

the belief that the woman had been choked to death, 
a method offering the least risk, being noiseless and 
bloodless.^' 

*' What has the sharpness of the knife to do with 
this?" 

*' It was, in my mind, important to decide whether 
the head had been removed before or after death. 
A dull knife would not have aided me as a sharp 
one did. With a sharp knife a severing of the 
carotid artery* before death would have resulted in a 
spurting of blood, which would have stained the 
walls or floor, so that it would have been difficult, 
or impossible, to wash away the telltale marks. But 
after death, or even while the victim was uncon- 
scious, a cool hand, with a sharp blade, could cut 
down upon the artery in such a way that the blood 
would flow regularly, and, the body being in the 
bathtub, and water flowing from the faucets, no 
stains would be left." 

" Then you think that the woman was choked to 
death ? " 

"I have not a doubt of it. There was a terrible 
struggle, too, though in an empty house we could 
find no such signs as would inevitably have been 
made in a furnished apartment. But the woman 
fought for her life and died hard. This I know be- 
cause, despite the precaution of the assassin in re- 
moving the head, there are two or three distinct 
marks on the neck, made by the ends of his fingers 
and nails." 

** Well, having discovered so much, you are as far 



The Missing Link 139 

as ever from the identity of the criminal, or of the 
woman.** 

** Every point unravelled is so much gain,** said 
Mr. Barnes, evasively. ** My next deduction wcs 
more important. Let us picture the scene of the 
crime. For causes as yet unknown, this man wished 
to kill this woman. He lures her into this empty 
house, and, choosing a favorable moment, seizes her 
by the throat and strangles her to death. To pre- 
vent the identification of the corpse, he decides to 
remove the head, hands, and feet, parts which are 
characteristic. He takes off the clothes and burns 
them. We found the ashes in the kitchen stove. 
He takes the body to the bathroom, and, placing 
it in the porcelain tub, turns on the water, and then 
proceeds with his diabolical scheme. Even though 
we suppose that he first filled the tub with water, 
the better to avoid stains, when we remember that 
he took away the severed parts it is inconceivable 
that not a stain of blood, not a smudge of pinkish 
tint, would be left anywhere. Granting that he 
might have endeavored to wash away any such drip- 
pings, still it would be marvellous that not one stain 
should be left.'* 

** Yet you found none ?*' Mr. Mitchel smiled, 
and resumed his smoking. 

** Yet I found none," said Mr. Barnes. " But 
this was a most significant fact to me. It led me to 
a suspicion which I proceeded to verify. The 
plumbing in this house is of the most approved 
pattern. Under the porcelain bathtub there is a 






140 The Missing Link 

patent trap for the exclusion of sewer-gas. This is 
so fashioned that some water always remains. Sup- 
posing that bloody water had passed through it, I 
should find this trap partly filled with water tinted 
in color. I removed the screw, which enabled me 
to catch the water from the trap in a bowl. It was 
perfectly clear. Not a trace of color." 

From which you deduced ? " asked Mr. Mitchel. 
From which I deduced," said the detective, 
" that the woman had not been killed, or dismem- 
bered, in the house where her body was found. 
By examining the other houses and emptying the 
traps, I found one which yielded water plainly 
colored with blood, and I also found a few smudges 
about the bathtub ; places where blood had splashed 
and been washed off. The assassin thought that he 
had made all clean, but as so often happens with 
porcelain, when dried there still remained a slight 
stain, which even showed the direction in which it 
had been wiped." 

*' Very good ! Very good indeed ! " Mr. Mitchel 
yawned slightly. " Let me see. You have dis- 
covered — what ? That the knife was sharp. And 
that the woman was killed in one house and carried 
to another. How does that help you ? " 

At this point Mr. Barnes gave Mr. Mitchel a dis- 
tinct surprise. Instead of answering the question, 
he asked suddenly : 

*' Mr. Mitchel, will you permit me to examine 
that watch-chain which you are wearing ? *' 

Mr. Mitchel sat straight up in his chair, and 



The Missing Link 141 

looked sharply at the detective, as though trying to 
read his innermost thoughts. The detective stared 
back at him, and both were silent a moment. Then 
without speaking, Mr. Mitchel removed the chain, 
and handed it to Mr. Barnes, who took it with him 
to the window, and there examined it closely through 
a lens. Mr. Mitchel threw the remains of his cigar 
into the fire, and, placing both hands behind his head 
as he lay back in his chair, awaited developments. 
Presently Mr. Barnes returned to his place by the 
mantel, and in resuming his narrative it was notice- 
able from his tone of voice that he was more than 
ever troubled. 

'* You asked me," said he, ** how my discoveries 
helped me. I say from the bottom of my soul that 
they have helped me only too well. That I proceed 
in this matter is due to the fact that I must follow 
the dictates of my conscience rather than my heart.*' 

" Brutus yielded up his son," suggested Mr. 
Mitchel. 

'* Yes. Well, to resume my story. The point of 
importance was this. Imagine the assassin with 
both hands at the woman's throat — two things were 
inevitable. The woman would surely struggle, 
with arms and legs, and the murderer would be un- 
able to resist, his own hands being occupied. What 
more natural than that the arms of the dying woman 
should be wrapped about the body of her assailant ? 
That the hands should grasp and rend the cloth- 
ing ? Might perhaps come into contact with a 
watch-chain and tear it off, or break it ? " 



142 The Missing Link 

** And you are intending to examine all the 
watch-chains in the neighborhood upon such a 
chance as that ? ** Mr. Mitchel laughed, but Mr. 
Barnes took no notice of the intended taunt. 

** I have examined the only chain I wished to 
look at. Deducing the struggle, and the possible 
tearing off of some part of the assassin's attire, I 
was glad to know which house was the scene of the 
crime. Having satisfied myself in this direction, I 
proceeded to search for the missing link in the 
chain of evidence, though I must confess that I did 
not expect it to be truly a link, a part of a real 
chain. The idea that a watch-chain might have 
been broken in the struggle did not occur to me 
until I held the evidence in my hand." 

** Oh ; then you did find your missing link ? " 

*' Yes. I personally swept every room, and the 
staircase, and at last I found the link. But it would 
be more correct to say your missing link, than mine, 
Mr. Mitchel, for it was from this chain that it was 
broken.** 

'' Indeed!" 

Mr. Barnes was amazed at the imperturbable man- 
ner in which this statement was received. Becoming 
slightly agitated himself, he continued : 

** As soon as I picked up that link, I was shocked 
at my discovery, for, from its peculiar shape, I 
recognized it as similar to your chain, which I had 
often observed. Still, I hoped that there might be 
some mistake ; that it might have fallen from some 
other man. But you permitted me to examine this 



The Missing Link 143 

chain, and the last doubt is swept away. I note 
that every alternate link is solid, the intermediate 
ones having a slit, by which the links are joined into 
a chain. The wrench given by the dying woman 
strained one of these links so that it opened, allow- 
ing the chain to part, and later this particular link 
dropped off. Either you did not observe it at once, 
or else, being small, you could not find it. If this 
occurred as I have described, what would be the re- 
sult? Your chain, where parted, would terminate at 
each end with a solid link. Thus, to unite the chain 
again, my lens shows me that you have sawed 
through one link, and so rejoined your chain. And 
not only do I see the freshly sawed link, but, as 
must necessarily be the case, we have two links 
adjacent, each of which can be opened.'* 

** And your next move will be?" asked Mr. 
Mitchel, still apparently undisturbed. 

** I have no recourse open to me except to arrest 
you. That is why I have found this whole interview 
so painful.** 

** I understand your position, and sympathize 
with you thoroughly," said Mr. Mitchel. '* And 
yet, see how easily you might dismiss this whole 
theory of yours. These houses are in my neighbor- 
hood, immediately back of me, in fact. I am a 
householder. What more natural than my taking 
an interest in property so near me ? Why may I 
not have visited the houses to examine them ? 
Then what more possible than the chance that in 
passing from one rbom to another, my chain should 



144 The Missing Link 

have caught on a door-knob, and have been broken, 
the link dropping as you have suggested ? My re- 
pairing the damage would be but a natural sequence, 
and the subsequent murder and your train of reason- 
ing is resolved into a mere coincidence." 

" That is ingenious, Mr. Mitchel. But some in- 
stinct tells me that I am right, and that you did 
commit this crime." 

** Intuition, which I suppose is whatyou mean by 
instinct, is not always reliable, but, oddly enough, 
in this instance you are correct. I did kill that 
creature. Moreover, the sequence of events was as 
you have deduced. I commend you for your skill, 
for, believe me, I used every precaution to prevent 
detection." 

"Then you confess? My God! This is hor- 
rible ! " 

At the prospect of arresting Mr. Mitchel, a man 
who had won his most ardent admiration, Mr. Barnes 
was so overcome that he sank into a chair and stared 
blankly at his companion. 

" Come ! come !" said Mr. Mitchel. '* Don't 
break down like that. The affair is bad enough, I 
admit, but it might be worse." 

** Might be worse ! " ejaculated Mr. Barnes, amazed 
at the words as well as the half -jocular tone, 

'* Why yes. Much worse. Why, Mr. Barnes, 
have you not had evidence of my ability to thwart 
detectives before to-day ? Do you suppose that I 
shall permit myself to be detected, arrested, im- 
prisoned in this affair ? Nothing is further from my 



The Missing Link 145 

mind, I assure you. True, you have, with your un- 
common skill, discovered a part of the truth. But 
that need not trouble me, for no other detective will 
be so shrewd." 

*' Do you mean to suggest that I should shield 
you in this matter ? ** 

** Well, yes. That is about what I expect from 
your friendship.*' 

** Impossible! Impossible! I wish that I could 
do what you ask ! But no ! It is impossible ! " 

** There. I have tried your patience long enough. 
Let me tell you the whole story, and then you may 
decide as you please. A few years ago, in Paris, a 
friend presented me with a poodle. French poodles, 
as you know, are considered the most intelligent of 
all dogs, and this one seemed to be the wisest of his 
species. My friend had already trained him to per- 
form many tricks, and these were done at command, 
without special signals, so that I could but believe 
what my friend claimed, that the dog actually 
understood what was said to him. Thinking this 
matter over one day, it presented itself to me in a 
singular light. 

" In the training of animals, man has always aimed 
to make the dumb brute understand, and carry out, 
the master's wishes. No one, so far as I then knew, 
had ever trained a dog to express his own wishes, in 
any way intelligible to the master. This I under- 
took to do, and was fairly successful, I printed 
words on cards, such as * food,' ' drink,' * yard,' etc., 
and, by means which I need not recapitulate, I taught 



10 



146 The Missing Link 

my dog to bring me the special card which would 
represent his wishes. Thus, when he was thirsty, 
he could ask for * water,' or when he wished to leave 
the house, he brought the card marked * yard.' 
Imagine my astonishment when one day a little sky- 
terrier, belonging to another lodger in the house, 
came to me with the * food ' card in his mouth. At 
first I supposed it to be merely an accident, but I 
soon discovered that the terrier understood the cards 
as well as did the poodle. How, unless the poodle 
had taught him ? Do dogs, then, have a language 
by which they may communicate with each other ? 

*' This was a new thought, which attracted me 
more and more as I revolved it in my mind. Then 
it occurred to me that if animals have a language, 
monkeys would offer the best field for study, and I 
began investigating. The discovery that the apes 
do have a language has been made by Mr. Garner, 
and by him the fact has been published to the 
., world. But I made the discovery several years 
ago, though I kept it to myself, for reasons which 
you shall hear. 

** I practised upon the monkeys in the Zoological 
Gardens in Paris and London, until I was a veritable 
crank on the subject of monkey language. Nothing 
would satisfy me but a trip to Africa. Thither I 
went, and made great progress, so that by the time 
I captured a fine chimpanzee on the Congo, I was 
able to readily make him understand that I meant 
him no harm. At first he received my overtures 
with hesitation, his previous experience with my 



The Missing Link 147 

race rendering him skeptical as to my good qualities. 
But after a time, we became good friends; I might 
even say chums. After that I gave him his liberty, 
and we took strolls together. He was a very sociable 
fellow when one really got to know him well, but 
we found the resources of the monkey language in- 
adequate to our needs. The experiment with my 
dog recurred to me, and I undertook to teach him 
a human tongue. I chose German as the best 
adapted to his limitations, and he made such pro- 
gress that in a few months we could converse with 
tolerable ease. 

** I decided to tell him something of the world of 
civilization, and one day it occurred to me to ex- 
pound to him the Darwinian theory. He listened 
with an expression of learned thought upon his face 
which would have well suited the countenance of a 
philosopher, but when I had finished, he astounded 
me by announcing that he thought he could show 
me that higher race of apes, which, being more 
humanly developed than any species now known, 
might well be designated * the missing link * which 
connects the Simian race with man. I begged him 
to do so, and he undertook the task, though he said 
that it involved a long journey. I urged him to go, 
and he left me. 

" A month had passed, and I had begun to think 
that my new-found friend had deserted me, when 
one day he walked into camp, accompanied by the 
most human-like ape I had ever seen. It was neither 
chimpanzee nor gorilla, but a combination of both 



148 The Missing Link 

in those characteristics which were most manlike. 
The most conspicuous advance beyond the anthro- 
poid apes now known, was the hairless skin. The 
hands and feet, too, were more human in shape, 
though on the latter the hallux still retained its pre- 
hensile character, which perhaps is necessary to a 
tree dweller. The face was peculiarly human, 
though the jaws retained certain distinguishing at- 
tributes of the ape, as, for example, the space be- 
tween the anterior and posterior teeth, and the 
fang-like canine teeth. 

** As you must already suspect the sequel, I may 
hurry on to the end. The creature was a female, 
and in the trip to our camp my chimpanzee friend 
had become much attached to her; indeed, I may 
say he had fallen in love with her. He had also be- 
gun her higher education, so that when we met she 
was able to address a few words to me in German. 
As you may well imagine, I was greatly interested 
in this animal, and did all in my power to teach her. 
She made even more rapid progress than the chim- 
panzee had, and I was thinking of the sensation I 
could produce in Paris by sending cards of invitation 
to the nuptials of my monkey friends, which I de- 
termined should occur in the great metropolis. 

" Imagine my horror one morning, upon finding 
the chimpanzee dead. I did not immediately com- 
prehend the full significance of this, but upon 
questioning the ape a few days later, she candidly 
confessed to me that she had strangled the chim- 
panzee, her only reason being, that having decided 



The Missing Link 149 

for the future to live as a human being, she deemed 
it wise to destroy her companion, that he might 
not be able to divulge the secret of her origin. 

** Instantly my mind was awakened to a danger 
which menaced myself. I too knew the secret of 
her savage ancestry, and the fact that she had not 
slain me also was probably due to her hope that I 
would fulfil my promise and take her with me to 
more civilized parts. Indeed, so certain was I of 
this, that I took the first opportunity to foster that 
ambition in her bosom. At the same time I care- 
fully planned a secret departure, and a few nights 
later succeeded in getting away unobserved, while 
the ape slept. Throughout the journey to the coast 
I constantly feared pursuit, but was fortunate enough 
to get safely on shipboard without hearing more of 
the savage creature. 

** At dusk on last Saturday, I was strolling through 
the next street, when, to my amazement, I saw com- 
ing towards me what appeared to be a woman, whose 
face however was so startlingly like the ape which I 
had left in Africa that for a moment I was dazed. 
In the next instant, realizing that if my suspicion 
was true, I might be in danger even after the lapse 
of time, and hoping that it was merely a chance re- 
semblance, I quickly turned into one of the new 
houses still open for inspection. I did not dare to 
look behind me, and even thought it a trick of my 
excited imagination when I fancied that I heard 
steps following me as I ascended to the second floor. 
I turned upon reaching the floor above, and instantly 



150 The Missing Link 

with a savage cry the brute was upon me, her hands 
upon my throat, making a desperate effort to strangle 
me. I gripped her neck in a similar manner, scarcely 
hoping to save my life. Fortune favored me, how- 
ever, and, after a lengthy struggle, the ape lay dead 
at my feet. I suppose that several years of life in 
civilization had sapped her savage strength. 

** My subsequent proceedings were actuated by 
two motives. In the first place any public connec- 
tion of my name with such a horrible encounter 
would naturally have greatly annoyed my wife, and 
secondly I could not resist my innate fondness for 
contending with detectives. I removed the head, 
hands, and feet, to prevent identification, and also 
because with them I can convince you that the 
animal was an ape, and not a woman. As there is 
no law against the killing of an ape, you must see, 
Mr. Barnes, that it would be futile to arrest me." 

** You are right,'* replied Mr. Barnes, ** and I am 
truly glad that your explanation places you beyond 
the law. You must forgive me for my suspicion." 

The two men joined hands in a firm clasp, which 
cemented their friendship, and guaranteed that the 
secret which they shared would never be divulged 
by either. 



i I 



I « 



it 



III 



THE NAMELESS MAN 

Mr. Barnes was sitting in his private room, with 
nothing of special importance to occupy his thoughts, 
when his office boy announced a visitor. 

What name ? ** asked Mr. Barnes. 

None," was the reply. 

You mean,*' said the detective, ** that the man 
did not give you his name. He must have one, of 
course. Show him in." 

A minute later the stranger entered, and, bowing 
courteously, began the conversation at once. 

Mr. Barnes, the famous detective, I believe ? " 
said he. 

My name is Barnes," replied the detective. 
May I have the pleasure of knowing yours ? " 

I sincerely hope so," continued the stranger. 
The fact is, I suppose I have forgotten it." 

Forgotten your name ?" Mr. Barnes scented 
an interesting case, and became doubly attentive. 

Yes," said the visitor; ** that is precisely my 
singular predicament. I seem to have lost my 
identity. That is the object of my call. I wish 
you to discover who I am. As I am evidently a 

151 



< t 
id 

1 1 
it 

<< 

i 1 



152 The Nameless Man 

full-grown man, I can certainly claim that I have a 
past history, but to me that past is entirely blank. 
I awoke this morning in this condition, yet appar- 
ently in possession of all my faculties, so much so , 
that I at once saw the advisability of consulting a 
first-class detective, and, upon inquiry, I was 
directed to you." 

*' Your case is most interesting — from my point of 
view, I mean. To you, of course, it must seem un- 
fortunate. Yet it is not unparalleled. There have 
been many such cases recorded, and, for your tem- 
porary relief, I may say that, sooner or later, com- 
plete restoration of memory usually occurs. But 
now, let us try to unravel your mystery as soon as 
possible, that you may suffer as little inconvenience 
as there need be. I would like to ask you a few 
questions.** 

As many as you like, and I will do my best to 



1 1 



answer. 



Do you think that you are a New Yorker ? " 

** I have not the least idea whether I am or not.** 

*' You say you were advised to consult me. By 

whom ? '* 

** The clerk at the Waldorf Hotel, where I slept 

last night.** 

** Then, of course, he gave you my address. Did 

you find it necessary to ask him how to find my 

offices ? * * 

** Well, no, I did not. That seems strange, does it 

not ? I certainly had no difficulty in coming here. I 

suppose that must be a significant fact, Mr. Barnes ? ** 



The Nameless Man 153 

** It tends to show that you have been familiar 
with New York, but we must still find out whether 
you live here or not. How did you register at the 
hotel?" 

'* M. J. G. Remington, City." 

** You are quite sure that Remington is not your 
name ? ** 

** Quite sure. After breakfast this morning I was 
passing through the lobby when the clerk called me 
twice by that name. Finally, one of the hall-boys 
touched me on the shoulder and explained that I 
was wanted at the desk. I was very much confused 
to find myself called * Mr. Remington,' a name 
which certainly is not my own. Before I fully 
realized my position, I said to the clerk, * Why do 
you call me Remington ? ' and he replied, * Because 
you registered under that name. ' I tried to pass it 
off, but I am sure that the clerk looks upon me as a 
suspicious character." 

** What baggage have you with you at the hotel? " 

** None. Not even a satchel." 

** May there not be something in your pockets 
that would help us; letters, for example ? " 

** I am sorry to say that I have made a search in 
that direction, but found nothing. Luckily I did 
have a pocketbook, though." 

** Much money in it ? " 

** In the neighborhood of five hundred dollars." 

Mr. Barnes turned to his table and made a few 
notes on a pad of paper. While so engaged his 
visitor took out a fine gold watch, and, after a 



154 The Nameless Man 

glance at the face, was about to return it to his 
pocket, when Mr. Barnes wheeled around in his 
chair, and said : 

** That is a handsome watch you have there. Of 
a curious pattern, too. I am rather interested in 
old watches.*' 

The stranger seemed confused for an instant, and 
quickly put up his watch, saying: 

** There is nothing remarkable about it. Merely 
an old family relic. I value it more for that than 
anything else. But about my case, Mr. Barnes; 
how long do you think it will take to restore my 
identity to me ? It is rather awkward to go about 
under a false name. ' * 

** I should think so," said the detective. ** I will 
do my best for you, but you have given me abso- 
lutely no clue to work upon, so that it is impossible 
to say what my success will be. Still I think forty- 
eight hours should suffice. At least in that time I 
ought to make some discoveries for you. Suppose 
you call again on the day after to-morrow, at noon 
precisely. Will that suit you ? ** 

** Very well, indeed. If you can tell me who I 
am at that time I shall be more than convinced that 
you are a great detective, as I have been told." 

He arose and prepared to go, and upon the in- 
stant Mr. Barnes touched a button under his table 
with his foot, which caused a bell to ring in a dis- 
tant part of the building, no sound of which pene- 
trated the private office. Thus any one could visit 
Mr. Barnes in his den, and might leave, unsuspicious 



The Nameless Man 155 

* 

of the fact that a spy would be awaiting him out in 
the street who would shadow him persistently day 
and night until recalled by his chief. After giving 
the signal, Mr. Barnes held his strange visitor in 
conversation a few moments longer to allow his spy 
opportunity to get to his post. 

How will you pass the time away, Mr. Reming- 
ton ? *^* said he. ** We may as well call you by that 
name, until I find your true one." 

** Yes, I suppose so. As to what I shall do 
during the next forty-eight hours, why, I think I 
may as well devote myself to seeing the sights. It 
is a remarkably pleasant day for a stroll, and I think 
I will visit your beautiful Central Park." 

** A capital idea. By all means, I would advise 
occupation of that kind. It would be best not to 
do any business until your memory is restored to 
you." 

** Business ? Why, of course, I can do no busi- 
ness." 

** No. If you were to order any goods, for ex- 
ample, under the name of Remington, later on when 
you resume your proper identity you might be 
arrested as an impostor." 

"By George! I had not thought of that. My 
position is more serious than I had realized. I 
thank you for the warning. Sight-seeing will as- 
suredly be my safest plan for the next two days." 

** I think so. Call at the time agreed upon, and 
hope for the best. If I should need you before 
then, I will send to your hotel." 



156 The Nameless Man 

Then, saying "Good morning,'* Mr. Barnes turned 
to his desk again, and, as the stranger looked at him 
before stepping out of the room, the detective 
seemed engrossed with some papers before him. 
Yet scarcely had the door closed upon the retreating 
form of his recent visitor, when Mr. Barnes looked 
up, with an air of expectancy. A moment later a 
very tiny bell in a drawer of his desk rang, indicat- 
ing that the man had left the building, the signal 
having been sent to him by one of his employees, 
whose business it was to watch all departures and 
notify his chief. A few moments later Mr. Barnes 
himself emerged, clad in an entirely different suit of 
clothing, and with such alteration in the color of his 
hair that more than a casual glance would have been 
required to recognize him. 

When he reached the street the stranger was no- 
where in sight, but Mr. Barnes went to a doorway 
opposite, and there he found, written in blue pencil, 
the word ** up," whereupon he walked rapidly up- 
town as far as the next corner, where once more he 
examined a door-post, upon which he found the 
word *' right,*' which indicated the way the men 
ahead of him had turned. Beyond this he could 
expect no signals, for the spy shadowing the stranger 
did not know positively that his chief would take 
part in the game. The two signals which he had 
written on the doors were merely a part of a routine, 
and intended to aid Mr. Barnes should he follow; 
but if he did so, he would be expected to be in 
sight of the spy by the time the second signal was 



The Nameless Man 157 

reached. And so it proved in this instance, for as 
Mr. Barnes turned the corner to the right, he easily- 
discerned his man about two blocks ahead, and 
presently was near enough to see ** Remington " 
also. 

The pursuit continued until Mr. Barnes was sur- 
prised to see him enter the Park, thus carrying out 
his intention as stated in his interview with the de- 
tective. Entering at the Fifth Avenue gate he 
made his way towards the menagerie, and here a 
curious incident occurred. The stranger had min- 
gled with the crowd in the monkey -house, and was 
enjoying the antics of the mischievous little animals, 
when Mr, Barnes, getting close behind him, deftly 
removed a pocket-handkerchief from the tail of his 
coat and swiftly transferred it to his own. 

On the day following, shortly before noon, Mr. 
Barnes walked quickly into the reading-room of the 
Fifth Avenue Hotel. In one corner there is a hand- 
some mahogany cabinet, containing three compart- 
ments, each of which is entered through double 
doors, having glass panels in the upper half. About 
these panels are draped yellow silk curtains, and in 
the centre of each appears a white porcelain numeral. 
These compartments are used as public telephone 
stations, the applicant being shut in, so as to be free 
from the noise of the outer room. 

Mr. Barnes spoke to the girl in charge, and then 
passed into the compartment numbered "2." Less 
than five minutes later Mr. Leroy Mitchel came into 
the reading-room. His keen eyes peered about 



158 The Nameless Man 

him, scanning the countenances of those busy with 
the papers or writing, and then he gave the tele- 
phone girl a number, and went into the compart- 
ment numbered ** i." About ten minutes elapsed 
before Mr. Mitchel came out again, and, having 
paid the toll, he left the hotel. When Mr. Barnes 
emerged, there was an expression of extreme satis- 
faction upon his face. Without lingering, he also 
went out. But instead of following Mr. Mitchel 
through the main lobby to Broadway, he crossed 
the reading-room and reached Twenty-third Street 
through the side door. Thence he proceeded to 
the station of the elevated railroad, and went up- 
town. Twenty minutes later he was ringing the bell 
of Mr. Mitchel's residence. The "buttons'* who 
answered his summons informed him that his master 
was not at home. 

'* He usually comes in to luncheon, however, does 
he not ? " asked the detective. 
Yes, sir,*' responded the boy. 
Is Mrs. Mitchel at home ? ** 
No, sir.** 

" Miss Rose?** 

'* Yes, sir.** 

** Ah ; then I *11 wait. Take my card to her." 

Mr. Barnes passed into the luxurious drawing- 
room, and was soon joined by Rose, Mr. Mitchel's 
adopted daughter. 

** I am sorry papa is not at home, Mr. Barnes,** 
said the little lady, ** but he will surely be in to 
luncheon, if you will wait.** 



1 1 



< < 



The Nameless Man 159 

'* Yes, thank you, I think I will. It is quite a 
trip up, and, being here, I may as well wait a while 
and see your father, though the matter is not of any 
great importance." 

** Some interesting case, Mr. Barnes ? If so, do 
tell me about it. You know I am almost as inter- 
ested in your cases as papa is." 

** Yes, I know you are, and my vanity is flattered. 
But I am sorry to say that I have nothing on hand 
at present worth relating. My errand is a very 
simple one. Your father was saying, a few days 
ago, that he was thinking of buying a bicycle, and 
yesterday, by accident, I came across a machine of an 
entirely new make, which seems to me superior to 
anything yet produced. I thought he might be in- 
terested to see it, before deciding what kind to buy." 

** I am afraid you are too late, Mr. Barnes. 
Papa has bought a bicycle already." 

** Indeed ! What style did he choose ? " 

** I really do not know, but it is down in the lower 
hall, if you care to look at it." 

** It is hardly worth while. Miss Rose. After all, 
I have no interest in the new model, and if your 
father has found something that he likes, I won't 
even mention the other to him. It might only 
make him regret his bargain. Still, on second 
thoughts, I will go down with you, if you will take 
me into the dining-room and show me the head of 
that moose which your father has been bragging 
about killing. I believe it has come back from the 
taxidermist's ? " 



i6o The Nameless Man 

** Oh, yes. He is just a monster. Come on." 

They went down to the dining-room, and Mr. 
Barnes expressed great admiration for the moose's 
head, and praised Mr. MitcheFs skill as a marksman. 
But he had taken a moment to scrutinize the bicycle 
which stood in the hallway, while Rose was opening 
the blinds in the dining-room. Then they returned 
to the drawing-room, and after a little more conver- 
sation Mr. Barnes departed, saying that he could not 
wait any longer, but he charged Rose to tell her 
father that he particularly desired him to call at 
noon on the following day. 

Promptly at the time appointed, " Remington** 
walked into the office of Mr. Barnes, and was an- 
nounced. The detective was in his private room. 
Mr. Leroy Mitchel had been admitted but a few 
moment before. 

** Ask Mr. Remington in," said Mr. Barnes to his 
boy, and when that gentleman entered, before he 
could show surprise at finding a third party present, 
the detective said : 

** Mr. Mitchel, this is the gentleman whom I wish 
you to meet. Permit me to introduce to you Mr. 
Mortimer J. Goldie, better known to the sporting 
fraternity as G. J. Mortimer, the champion short- 
distance bicycle rider, who recently rode a mile in 
the phenomenal time of 1.36, on a three-lap track." 

As Mr. Barnes spoke, he gazed from one to the 
other of his companions, with a half-quizzical and 
wholly pleased expression on his face. Mr. Mitchel 
appeared much interested, but the newcomer was 



The Nameless Man i6i 

evidently greatly astonished. He looked blankly 
at Mr. Barnes a moment, then dropped into a chair 
with the query : 

** How in the name of conscience did you find 
that out ? " 

** That much was not very difficult," replied the 
detective. ** I can tell you much more; indeed, I 
can supply your whole past history, provided your 
memory has been sufficiently restored for you to 
recognize my facts as true." 

Mr. Barnes looked at Mr. Mitchel, and winked 
one eye in a most suggestive manner, at which that 
gentleman burst out into heary laughter, finally 
saying: 

** We may as well admit that we are beaten, 
Goldie. Mr. Barnes has been too much for us." 

** But I want to know how he has done it," per- 
sisted Mr. Goldie. 

** I have no doubt that Mr. Barnes will gratify 
you. Indeed, I am as curious as you are to know 
by what means he has arrived at his quick solution 
of the problem which we set for him." 

** I will enlighten you as to detective methods 
with pleasure," said Mr. Barnes. ** Let me begin 
with the visit made to me by this gentleman two 
days ago. At the very outset his statement aroused 
my suspicion, though I did my best not to let him 
think so. He announced to me that he had lost his 
identity, and I promptly told him that his case was 
not uncommon. I said that in order that he might 
feel sure that I did not doubt his tale. But truly. 



zx 



1 62 The Nameless Man 

his case, if he was telling the truth, was absolutely 
unique. Men have lost recollection of their past, 
and even have forgotten their names. But I have 
never before heard of a man who had forgotten his 
name, and at the same time knew that he had done so'' 

** A capital point, Mr. Barnes,'* said Mr. Mitchel. 
** You were certainly shrewd to suspect fraud so 
early." 

** Well, I cannot say that I suspected fraud so 
soon, but the story was so improbable that I could 
not believe it immediately. I therefore was what I 
might call * analytically attentive ' during the rest 
of the interview. The next point worth noting 
which came out was that, although he had forgotten 
himself, he had not forgotten New York, for he ad- 
mitted having come to me without special guidance." 

** I remember that," interrupted Mr. Goldie, ** and 
I think I even said to you at the time that it was 
significant." 

** And I told you that it at least showed that you 
had been familiar with New York. This was better 
proven when you said that you would spend the 
day at Central Park, and when, after leaving here, 
you had no difficulty in finding your way thither." 

'* Do you mean to say that you had me followed ? 
I made sure that no one was after me." 

** Well, yes, you were followed," said Mr. Barnes, 
with a smile. ** I had a spy after you, and I fol- 
lowed you as far as the Park myself. But let me 
come to the other points in your interview and my 
deductions. You told me that you had registered 



The Nameless Man 163 

as * M. J. G. Remington.' This helped me con- 
siderably, as we shall see presently. A few minutes 
later you took out your watch, and in that little 
mirror over my desk, which I use occasionally when 
I turn my back upon a visitor, I noted that there 
was an inscription on the outside of the case. I 
turned and asked you something about the watch, 
when you hastily returned it to your pocket, with 
the remark that it was * an old family relic' Now 
can you explain how you could have known that, 
supposing that you had forgotten who you were ? " 

** Neatly caught, Goldie," laughed Mr. Mitchel. 
** You certainly made a mess of it there." 

** It was an asinine slip," said Mr. Goldie, laugh- 
ing also. 

*'Now, then," continued Mr. Barnes, " you readily 
see that I had good reason for believing that you 
had not forgotten your name. On the contrary, I 
was positive that your name was a part of the in- 
scription on the watch. What, then, could be your 
purpose in pretending otherwise ? I did not dis- 
cover that for some time. However, I decided to 
go ahead, and find you out if I could. Next I 
noted two things. Your coat opened once, so that 
I saw, pinned to your vest, a bicycle badge, which 
I recognized as the emblem of the League of Ameri- 
can Wheelmen." 

"Oh! Oh!" cried Mr. Mitchel. "Shame on 
you, Goldie, for a blunderer." 

"I had entirely forgotten the badge," said Mr. 
Goldie. 



164 The Nameless Man 

** I also observed," the detective went on, " little 
indentations on the sole of your shoe, as you had 
your legs crossed, which satisfied me that you were 
a rider even before I observed the badge. Now 
then, we come to the name, and the significance 
thereof. Had you really lost your memory, the 
choosing of a name when you registered at a hotel 
would have been a haphazard matter of no impor- 
tance to me. But as soon as I decided that you 
were imposing upon me, I knew that your choice of 
a name had been a deliberate act of the mind ; one 
from which deductions could be drawn." 

** Ah ; now we come to the interesting part," 
said Mr. Mitchel. ** I love to follow a detective 
when he uses his brains." 

** The name as registered, and I examined the 
registry to make sure, was odd. Three initials are 
unusual. A man without memory, and therefore 
not quite sound mentally, would hardly have chosen 
so many. Then why had it been done in this in- 
stance ? What more natural than that these initials 
represented the true name ? In assuming an alias, 
it is the most common method to transpose the real 
name in some way. At least it was a working 
hypothesis. Then the last name might be very 
significant. * Remington.* The Remingtons make 
guns, sewing-machines, typewriters, and bicycles. 
Now, this man was a bicycle rider, I was sure. If 
he chose his own initials as a part of the alias, it was 
possible that he selected * Remington * because it 
was familiar to him. I even imagined that he might 



The Nameless Man 165 

be an agent for Remington bicycles, and I had 
arrived at that point during our interview, when I 
advised him not to buy anything until his identity 
was restored. But I was sure of my quarry when 
I stole a handkerchief from him at the park, and 
found the initials * M. J. G/ upon the same.'* 

** Marked linen on your person! " exclaimed Mr. 
Mitchel. ** Worse and worse! We *11 never make 
a successful criminal of you, Goldie." 
** Perhaps not. I shan't cry over it." 
** I felt sure of my success by this time," con- 
tinued Mr. Barnes, ** yet at the very next step I was 
balked. I looked over a list of L. A. W. members 
and could not find a name to fit my initials, which 
shows, as you will see presently, that, as I may say, 
* too many clues spoil the broth.' Without the 
handkerchief I would have done better. Next I 
secured a catalogue of the Remingtons, which gave 
a list of their authorized agents, and again I failed. 
Returning to my office I received information from 
my spy, sent in by messenger, which promised to 
open a way for me. He had followed you about, 
Mr. Goldie, and I must say you played your part 
very well, so far as avoiding acquaintances is con- 
cerned. But at last you went to a public telephoi^e, 
and called up some one. My man saw the impor- 
tance of discovering to whom you had spoken, and 
bribed the telephone attendant to give him the in- 
formation. All that he learned, however, was that 
you had spoken to the public station at the Fifth 
Avenue Hotel. My spy thought that this was in- 



t* 



i t 



% 



1 66 The Nameless Man 

consequent, but it proved to me at once that there 
was collusion, and that your man must have been 
at the other station by previous appointment. As 
that was at noon, a few minutes before the same 
hour on the following day, that is to say, yesterday, 
I went to the Fifth Avenue Hotel telephone and 
secreted myself in the middle compartment, hoping 
to hear what your partner might say to you. I 
failed in this, as the boxes are too well made to 
permit sound to pass from one to the other; but 
imagine my gratification to see Mr. Mitchel himself 
go into the box.*' 

And why ? '' asked Mr. Mitchel. 
Why, as soon as I saw you, I comprehended 
the whole scheme. It was you who had concocted 
the little diversion to test my ability. Thus, at last, 
I understood the reason for the pretended loss of 
identity. With the knowledge that you were in it, 
I was more than ever determined to get at the facts. 
Knowing that you were out, I hastened to your 
house, hoping for a chat with little Miss Rose, as 
the most likely member of your family to get in- 
formation from." 

" Oh, fie! Mr. Barnes," said Mr. Mitchell; "to 
play upon the innocence of childhood ! I am 
ashamed of you! " 

" ' All *s fair,* etc. Well, I succeeded. I found 
Mr. Goldie's bicycle in your hallway, and, as I sus- 
pected, it was a Remington. I took the number 
and hurried down to the agency, where I readily 
discovered that wheel No. 5086 is ridden by G. J. 



The Nameless Man 167 

Mortimer, one of their regular racing team. I also 
learned that Mortimer's private name is Mortimer 
J. Goldie. I was much pleased at this, because it 
showed how good my reasoning had been about the 
alias, for you observe that the racing name is merely 
a transposition of the family name. The watch, of 
course, is a prize, and the inscription would have 
proved that you were imposing upon me, Mr. Goldie, 
had you permitted me to see it." 

** Of course; that was why I put it back in my 
pocket.*' 

" I said just now," said Mr. Barnes, ** that with- 
out the stolen handkerchief I would have done 
better. Having it, when I looked over the L. A. 
W. list I went through the * G's ' only. Without 
it, I should have looked through the * G's ,' * J's,' 
and * M's,' not knowing how the letters may have 
been transposed. In that case I should have found 
* G. J. Mortimer,' and the initials would have proved 
that I was on the right track." 

** You have done well, Mr. Barnes," said Mr. 
Mitchel. ** I asked Goldie to play the part of a 
nameless man for a few days, to have some fun with 
you. But you have had fun with us, it seems. 
Though, I am conceited enough to say, that had it 
been possible for me to play th'e principal part, you 
would not have pierced my identity so soon." 

•* Oh, I don't know," said Mr. Barnes. ** We are 
both of us a little egotistical, I fear." 

" Undoubtedly. Still, if I ever set another trap 
for you, I will assign myself the chief rS/e,'' 



1 68 The Nameless Man 

** Nothing would please me better/' said Mr. 
Barnes. ** But, gentlemen, as you have lost in this 
little game, it seems to me that some one owes me a 
dinner, at least." 

** I '11 stand the expense with pleasure," said Mr. 
Mitchel. 

" Not at all," interrupted Mr. Goldie. ** It was 
through my blundering that we lost, and I *11 pay 
the piper." 

** Settle it between you," cried Mr. Barnes. *' But 
let us walk on. I am getting hungry." 

Whereupon they adjourned to Delmonico's. 



IV 



THE MONTEZUMA EMERALD 

** Is the Inspector in ? '* 

Mr. Barnes immediately recognized the voice, and 
turned to greet the speaker. The man was Mr. 
Leroy Mitchells English valet. Contrary to all pre- 
cedent and tradition, he did not speak in cockney 
dialect, not even stumbling over the proper dis- 
tribution of the letter ** h " throughout his vocabu- 
lary. That he was English, however, was apparent 
to the ear, because of a certain rather attractive 
accent, peculiar to his native island, and to the eye 
because of a deferential politeness of manner, too 
seldom observed in American servants. He also! 
always called Mr. Barnes ** Inspector," oblivious of 
the fact that he was not a member of the regular 
police, and mindful only of the English application 
of the word to detectives. 

" Step right in, Williams," said Mr. Barnes. 
''What is the trouble?" 

I don't rightly know. Inspector," said Williams. 

Won't you let me speak to you alone ? It 's 
about the master." 

Certainly. Come into my private room." He 

169 



t 



170 The Montezuma Emerald 

led the way and Williams followed, remaining stand- 
ing, although Mr. Barnes waved his hand towards a 
chair as he seated himself in his usual place at his 
desk. *' Now then,'* continued the detective, 
** what 's wrong ? Nothing serious I hope ? *' 

** I hope not, sir, indeed. But the master 's dis- 
appeared.*' 

** Disappeared, has he.'* Mr. Barnes smiled 
slightly. ** Now Williams, what do you mean by 
that ? You did not see him vanish, eh ? '' 

** No, sir, of course not. If you '11 excuse my 
presumption. Inspector, I don't think this is a joke, 
sir, and you 're laughing." 

" All right, Williams," answered Mr. Barnes, as- 
suming a more serious tone. ** I will give your tale 
my sober consideration. Proceed." 

" Well, I hardly know where to begin, Inspector. 
But I '11 just give you the facts, without any unnec- 
essary opinions of my own." 

Williams rather prided himself upon his ability 
to tell what he called " a straight story." He 
placed his hat on a chair, and, standing behind it, 
with one foot resting on a rung, checked off the 
points of his narrative, as he made them, by tapping 
the palm of one hand with the index finger of the 
other. 

" To begin then," said he. " Mrs. Mitchel and 
Miss Rose sailed for England, Wednesday morning 
of last week. That same night, quite unexpected, 
the master says to me, says he, * Williams, I think 
you have a young woman you're sweet on down at 



The Montezuma Ei^erald 171 

Newport ? ' * Well, sir,' says I, * I do know a per- 
son as answers that description,' though I must say 
to you, Inspector, that how he ever came to know 
it beats me. But that *s aside, and digression is 
not my habit. * Well, Williams,' the master went 
on, * I shan't need you for the rest of this week, 
and if you 'd like to take a trip to the seashore, I 
shan't mind standing the expense, and letting you 
go.' Of course, I thanked him very much, and I 
went, promising to be back on Monday morning as 
directed. And I kept my word. Inspector; though 
it was a hard wrench to leave the young person last 
Sunday in time to catch the boat ; the moon being 
bright and everything most propitious for a stroll, 
it being her Sunday off, and all that. But, as I 
said, I kept my word, and was up to the house 
Monday morning only a little after seven, the boat 
having got in at six. I was a little surprised to find 
that the master was not at home, but then it struck 
me as how he must have gone out of town over 
Sunday, and I looked for him to be in for dinner. 
But he did not come to dinner, nor at all that 
night. Still, I did not worry about it. It was the 
master's privilege to stay away as long as he liked. 
Only I could not help thinking I might just as well 
have had that stroll in the moonlight, Sunday night. 
But when all Tuesday and Tuesday night went by, 
and no word from the master, I must confess that 
I got uneasy; and now here's Wednesday noon, 
and no news; so I just took the liberty to come 
down and ask your opinion in the matter, seeing as 



172 The Montezuma Emerald 

how you are a particular friend of the family, and an 
Inspector to boot." 

'* Really, Williams," said Mr. Barnes, '' all I see 
in your story is that Mr. Mitchel, contemplating a 
little trip off somewhere with friends, let you go 
away. He expected to be back by Monday, but, 
enjoying himself, has remained longer." 

** I hope that 's all, sir, and I 've tried to think 
so. But this morning I made a few investigations 
of my own, and I 'm bound to say what I found 
don't fit that theory." 

** Ah, you have some more facts. What are 
they?" 

** One of them is this cablegram that I found only 
this morning under a book on the table in the 
library." He handed a blue paper to Mr. Barnes, 
who took it and read the following, on a cable blank : 

** Emerald. Danger. Await letter." 

For the first time during the interview Mr. 
Barnes's face assumed a really serious expression. 
He studied the despatch silently for a full minute, 
and then, without raising his eyes, said : 

*' What else?" 

** Well, Inspector, I don't know that this has 
anything to do with the affair, but the master had a 
curious sort of jacket, made of steel links, so tight 
and so closely put together, that I 've often won- 
dered what it was for. Once I made so bold as to 
ask him, and he said, said he, * Williams, if I had 
an enemy, it would be a good idea to wear that, be- 



The Montezuma Emerald 173 

cause it would stop a bullet or a knife.' Then he 
laughed, and went on : * Of course, I shan't need it 
for myself. I bought it when I was abroad once, 
merely as a curiosity.' Now, Inspector, that jacket 's 
disappeared also." 

** Are you quite sure ?" 

** I 've looked from dining-room to garret for it. 
The master's derringer is missing, too. It 's a 
mighty small affair. Could be held in the hand 
without being noticed, but it carries a nasty-looking 
ball." 

" Very well, Williams, there may be something 
in your story. I '11 look into the matter at once. 
Meanwhile, go home, and stay there so that I may 
find you if I want you." 

** Yes, sir; I thank you for taking it up. It takes 
a load off my mind to know you 're in charge. In- 
spector. If there 's harm come to the master, I 'm 
sure you '11 track the party down. Good morning. 



sir." 
< < 



Good morning, Williams." 
After the departure of Williams, the detective sat 
still for several minutes, lost in thought. He was 
weighing two ideas. He seemed still to hear the 
words which Mr. Mitchel had uttered after his suc- 
cess in unravelling the mystery of Mr. Goldie's lost 
identity. ** Next time I will assign myself the chief 
r^/^," or words to that effect, Mr. Mitchel had said. 
Was this disappearance a new riddle for Mr. Barnes 
to solve? If so, of course he would undertake it, 
as a sort of challenge which his professional pride 



1/4 The Montezuma Emerald 

could not reject. On the other harid. the cable des- 
patch and the missing coat of mail might portend 
ominously. The detective felt that Mr. Mitchel was 
somewhat in the position of the fabled boy who 
cried "Wolf! " so often that, when at last the wolf 
really appeared, no assistance was sent to him. 
Only Mr. Barnes decided that he must chase the 
" wolf," whether it be real or imaginary. He 
wished, though, that he knew which. 

Ten minutes later he decided upon a course of 
action, and proceeded to a telegraph office, where 
he found that, as he had supposed, the despatch had 
come from the Paris firm of jewellers from which 
Mr. Mitchel had frequently bought gems. He sent 
a lengthy message to them, asking for an immediate 
reply. 

While waiting for the answer, the detective was 
not inactive. He went direct to Mr. MitcheFs 
house, and once more questioned the valet, from 
whom he obtained an accurate description of the 
clothes which his master must have worn, only one 
suit being absent. This fact alone, seemed signifi- 
cantly against the theory of a visit to friends out of 
town. Next, Mr. Barnes interviewed the neighbors, 
none of whom remembered to have seen Mr. Mitchel 
during the week. At the sixth house below, how- 
ever, he learned something definite. Here he found 
Mr. Mordaunt, a personal acquaintance, and mem- 
ber of one of Mr. Mitchel's clubs. This gentleman 
stated that he had dined at the club with Mr. Mitchel 
on the previous Thursday, and had accompanied 



The Montezuma Emerald 175 

him home, in the neighborhood of eleven o'clock, 
parting with him at the door of his own residence. 
Since then he had neither seen nor heard from him. 
This proved that Mr. Mitchel was at home one day 
after Williams went to Newport. 

Leaving the house, Mr. Barnes called at the nearest 
telegraph office and asked whether a messenger 
summons had reached them during the week, from 
Mr. Mitchel's house. The record slips showed that 
the last call had been received at 12.30 A.M., on 
Friday. A cab had been demanded, and was sent, 
reaching the house at one o'clock. At the stables, 
Mr. Barnes questioned the cab-driver, and learned 
that Mr. Mitchel had alighted at Madison Square. 

'* But he got right into another cab," added the 
driver. " It was just a chance I seen him, 'cause 
he made as if he was goin' into the Fifth Avenoo ; 
but luck was agin' him, for I 'd scarcely gone two 
blocks back, when I had to get down to fix my 
harness, and while I was doin' that, who should I 
see but my fare go by in another cab." 

* * You did not happen to know the driver of that 
vehicle ? " suggested Mr. Barnes. 

" That 's just what I did happen to know. He 's 
always by the Square, along the curb by the Park. 
His name 's Jerry. You '11 find him easy enough, 
and he *11 tell you where he took that fly bird." 

Mr. Barnes went down town again, and did find 
Jerry, who remembered driving a man at the stated 
time, as far as the Imperial Hotel ; but beyond that 
the detective learned nothing, for at the hotel no one 



176 The Montezuma Emerald 

knew Mr. Mitchel, and none recollected his arrival 
early Friday morning. 

From the fact that Mr. Mitchel had changed cabs, 
and doubled on his track, Mr. Barnes concluded 
that he was after all merely hiding away for the 
pleasure of baffling him, and he felt much relieved 
to divest the case of its alarming aspect. However, 
he was not long permitted to hold this opinion. At 
the telegraph office he found a cable despatch await- 
ing him, which read as follows : 

** Montezuma Emerald forwarded Mitchel tenth. 
Previous owner murdered London eleventh. Mexi- 
can suspected. Warned Mitchel." 

This assuredly looked very serious. Casting aside 
all thought of a practical joke, Mr. Barnes now 
threw himself heart and soul into the task of finding 
Mitchel, dead or alive. From the telegraph office 
he hastened to the Custom-House, where he learned 
that an emerald, the invoiced value of which was no 
less than twenty thousand dollars, had been de- 
livered to Mr. Mitchel in person, upon payment of 
the custom duties, at noon of the previous Thurs- 
day. Mr. Barnes, with this knowledge, thought he 
knew why Mr. Mitchel had been careful to have a 
friend accompany him to his home on that night. 
But why had he gone out again ? Perhaps he felt 
safer at a hotel than at home, and, having reached 
the Imperial, taking two cabs to mystify the villain 
who might be tracking him, he might have registered 
under an alias. What a fool he had been not to 



The Montezuma Emerald 177 

examine the registry, as he could certainly recognize 
Mr. Mitchel's handwriting, though the name signed 
would of course be a false one. 

Back, therefore, he hastened to the Imperial, 
where, however, his search for familiar chirography 
was fruitless. Then an idea occurred to him. Mr. 
Mitchel was so shrewd that it would not be unlikely 
that, meditating a disappearance to baffle the men 
on his track, he had registered at the hotel several 
days prior to his permanently stopping there. 
Turning the page over, Mr. Barnes still failed to 
find what he sought, but a curious name caught his 
eye. 

** Miguel Palma— City of Mexico." 

Could this be the London murderer ? Was this 
the suspected Mexican ? If so, here was a bold and 
therefore dangerous criminal who openly put up at 
one of the most prominent hostelries. Mr. Barnes 
was turning this over in his mind, when a dimunitive 
newsboy rushed into the corridor, shouting: 

* * Extra Sun ! Extra Sun ! All about the horrible 
murder. Extra!** 

Mr. Barnes purchased a paper and was stupefied 
at the headlines : 

ROBERT LEROY MITCHEL DROWNED! 

His Body Found Floating in the East River. 

A DAGGER IN HIS BACK. 

Indicates Murder, 



178 The Montezuma Emerald 

' Mr. Barnes rushed out of the hotel, and, quickly 
finding a cab, instructed the man to drive rapidly to 
the Morgue. On the way, he read the details of 
the crime as recounted in the newspaper. From 
this he gathered that the body had been discovered 
early in the morning by two boatmen, who towed it 
to shore and handed it over to the police. An ex- 
amination at the Morgue had established the identity 
by letters found on the corpse and the initials marked 
on the clothing. Mr. Barnes was sad at heart, and 
inwardly fretted because his friend had not asked 
his aid when in danger. 

Jumping from the cab almost before it had fully 
stopped in front of the Morgue, he stumbled and 
nearly fell over a decrepit-looking beggar, upon 
whose breast was a printed card soliciting alms for 
the blind. Mr. Barnes dropped a coin, a silver 
quarter, into his outstretched palm, and hurried 
into the building. As he did so he was jostled by 
a tall man who was coming out, and who seemed to 
have lost his temper, as he muttered an imprecation 
under his breath in Spanish. As the detective's 
keen ear noted the foreign tongue an idea occurred 
to him which made him turn and follow the stranger. 
When he reached the street again he received a 
double surprise. The stranger had already signalled 
the cab which Mr. Barnes had just left, and was en- 
tering it, so that he had only a momnt in which to 
observe him. Then the door was slammed, and 
the driver whipped up his horses and drove rapidly 
away. At the same moment the blind beggar 



The Montezuma Emerald 179 

jumped up, and ran in the direction taken by the 
cab. Mr. Barnes watched them till both cab and 
beggar disappeared around the next corner, and then 
he went into the building again, deeply thinking 
over the episode. 

He found the Morgue-keeper, and was taken to 
the corpse. He recognized the clothing at once, 
both from the description given by Williams, and 
because he now remembered to have seen Mr. Mit- 
chel so dressed. It was evident that the body had 
been in the water for several days, and the marks 
of violence plainly pointed to murder. Still stick- 
ing in the back was a curious dagger of foreign 
make, the handle projecting between the shoulders. 
The blow must have been a powerful stroke, for the 
blade was so tightly wedged in the bones of the spine 
that it resisted ordinary efforts to withdraw it. 
Moreover, the condition of the head showed that a 
crime had been committed, for the skull and face 
had been beaten into a pulpy mass with some heavy 
instrument. Mr. Barnes turned away from the 
sickening sight to examine the letters found upon 
the corpse. One of these bore the Paris postmark, 
and he was allowed to read it. It was from the 
jewellers, and was the letter alluded to in the warn- 
ing cable. Its contents were : 



1 1 
< i 



Dear Sir:— 

As we have previously advised you the Monte- 
zuma Emerald was shipped to you on the tenth 
instant. On the following day the man from whom 



i8o The M6ntezuma Emerald 

we had bought it was found dead in Dover Street, 
London, killed by a dagger-thrust between the 
shoulders. The meagre accounts telegraphed to 
the papers here, state that there is no clue to the 
assassin. We were struck by the name, and remem- ^ 
bered that the deceased had urged us to buy the 
emerald, because, as he declared, he feared that a 
man had followed him from Mexico, intending to 
murder him to get possession of it. Within an 
hour of reading the newspaper story, a gentlemanly 
looking man, giving the name of Miguel Palma, en- 
tered our store, and asked if we had purchased the 
Montezuma Emerald. We replied negatively, and 
he smiled and left. We notified the police, but they 
have not yet been able to find this man. We 
deemed it our duty to warn you, and did so by cable." 

The signature was that of the firm from which Mr. 
Barnes had received the cable in the morning. The 
plot seemed plain enough now. After the fruitless 
murder of the man in London, the Mexican had 
traced the emerald to Mr. Mitchel, and had followed 
it across the water. Had he succeeded in obtaining 
it ? Among the things found on the corpse was an 
empty jewel-case, bearing the name of the Paris 
firm. It seemed from this that the gem had been 
stolen. But, if so, this man, Miguel Palma, must 
be made to explain his knowledge of the affair. 

Once more visiting the Imperial, Mr. Barnes made 
inquiry, and was told that Mr. Palma had left the 
hotel on the night of the previous Thursday, which 



The Montezuma Emerald i8i 

was just a few hours before Mr. Mitchel had un- 
doubtedly reached there alive. Could it be that the 
man at the Morgue had been he ? If so, why was 
he visiting that place to view the body of his victim ? 
This was a problem over which Mr. Barnes puzzled, 
as he was driven up to the residence of Mr. Mitchel. 
Here he found Williams, and imparted to that faith- 
ful servant the news of his master's death, and then 
inquired for the address of the family abroad, that 
he might notify them by cable, before they could 
read the bald statement in a newspaper. 

** As they only sailed a week ago to-day," said 
Williams, ** they Ve hardly more than due in Lon- 
don. I '11 go up to the master's desk and get the 
address of his London bankers." 

As Williams turned to leave the room, he started 
back amazed at the sound of a bell. 

** That 's the master's bell. Inspector! Some one 
is in his room ! Come with me ! " 

The two men bounded up-stairs, two steps at a 
time, and Williams threw open the door of Mr. 
Mitchel's boudoir, and then fell back against Mr. 
Barnes, crying: 

** The master himself! " 

Mr. Barnes looked over the man's shoulder, and 
could scarcely believe his eyes when he observed 
Mr. Mitchel, alive and well, brushing his hair before 
a mirror. 

"I 've rung for you twice, Williams," said Mr. 
Mitchel, and then, seeing Mr. Barnes, he added, 
*' Ah, Mr. Barnes. You are very welcome. Come 



1 82 The Montezuma Emerald 

in. Why, what is the matter, man ? You are as 
white as though you had seen a ghost." 

** Thank God, you are safe! " fervently ejaculated 
the detective, going forward and grasping Mr. 
Mitchel's hand. ** Here, read this, and you will 
understand. ** He drew out the afternoon paper 
and handed it to him. 

" Oh, that," said Mr. Mitchel, carelessly. " I 've 
read that. Merely a sensational lie, worked off 
upon a guileless public. Not a word of truth in it, 
I assure you." 

** Of course not, since you are alive; but there is 
a mystery about this which is yet to be explained." 

" What ! A mystery, and the great Mr. Barnes 
has not solved it ? I am surprised. I am, indeed. 
But then, you know, I told you after Goldie made 
a fizzle of our little joke that if I should choose to 
play the principal part you would not catch me. 
You see I have beaten you this time. Confess. 
You thought that was my corpse which you gazed 
upon at the Morgue ? ** 

** Well," said Mr. Barnes, reluctantly, ** the iden- 
tification certainly seemed complete, in spite of the 
condition of the face, which made recognition im- 
possible." 

'* Yes ; I flatter myself the whole affair was 
artistic." 

** Do you mean that this whole thing is nothing 
but a joke ? That you went so far as to invent 
cables and letters from Paris just for the trifling 
amusement of making a fool of me ? " 



The Montezuma Emerald 183 

Mr. Barnes was evidently slightly angry, and Mr. 
Mitchel, noting this fact, hastened to mollify 
him. 

** No, no; it is not quite so bad as that," he 
said. ** I must tell you the whole story, for there 
is yet important work to do, and you must help me. 
No, Williams, you need not go out. Your anxiety 
over my absence entitles you to a knowledge of the 
truth. A short time ago I heard that a very rare 
gem was in the market, no less a stone than the 
original emerald which Cortez stole from the crown 
of Montezuma. The emerald was offered in Paris, 
and I was notified at once by the dealer, and author- 
ized the purchase by cable. A few days later I re- 
ceived a despatch warning me that there was danger. 
I understood at once, for similar danger had lurked 
about other large stones which are now in my collec- 
tion. The warning meant that I should not attempt 
to get the emerald from the Custom-House until 
further advices reached me, which would indicate 
the exact nature of the danger. Later, I received 
the letter which was found on the body now at the 
Morgue, and which I suppose you have read ? *' 

Mr. Barnes nodded assent. 

** I readily located the man Palma at the Imperial, 
and from his openly using his name I knew that I 
had a dangerous adversary. Criminals who disdain 
aliases have brains, and use them. I kept away 
from the Custom-House until I had satisfied myself 
that I was being dogged by a veritable cutthroat, 
who, of course, was the tool hired by Palma to rob. 



184 The Montezuma Emerald 

perhaps to kill me. Thus acquainted with my ad- 
versaries, I was ready for the enterprise/' 

** Why did you not solicit my assistance ? " asked 
Mr. Barnes. 

" Partly because I wanted all the glory, and partly 
because I saw a chance to make you admit that I am 
still the champion detective-baffler. I sent my wife 
and daughter to Europe that I might have time for 
my scheme. On the day after their departure I 
boldly went to the Custom-House and obtained the 
emerald. Of course I was dogged by the hireling, 
but I had arranged a plan which gave him no ad- 
vantage over me. I had constructed a pair of goggles 
which looked like simple smoked glasses, but in one 
of these I had a little mirror so arranged that I could 
easily watch the man behind me, should he approach 
too near. However, I was sure that he would not 
attack me in a crowded thoroughfare, and I kept 
in crowds until time for dinner, when, by appoint- 
ment, I met my neighbor Mordaunt, and remained 
in his company until I reached my own doorway 
late at night. Here he left me, and I stood on the 
stoop until he disappeared into his own house. 
Then I turned, and apparently had much trouble to 
place my latch-key in the lock. This offered the 
assassin the chance he had hoped for, and, gliding 
stealthily forward, he made a vicious stab at me. 
But, in the first place, I had put on a chain-armor 
vest, and, in the second, expecting the attack to 
occur just as it did, I turned swiftly and with one 
blow with a club I knocked the weapon from the 



The Montezuma Emerald 185 

fellow's handy and with another I struck him over 
the head so that he fell senseless at my feet." 

" Bravo! " cried Mr. Barnes. ** You have a cool 



nerve." 



** I don't know. I think I was very much excited 
at the crucial moment, but with my chain armor, a 
stout loaded club in one hand and a derringer in the 
other, I never was in any real danger. I took the 
man down to the wine-cellar and locked him in one 
of the vaults. Then I called a cab, and went down 
to the Imperial, in search of Palma ; but I was too 
late. He had vanished." 

** So I discovered," interjected Mr. Barnes. 

" I could get nothing out of the fellow in the 
cellar. Either he cannot or he will not speak Eng- 
lish. So I have merely kept him a prisoner, visiting 
him at midnight only, to avoid Williams, and giving 
him rations for another day. Meanwhile, I disguised 
myself and looked for Palma. I could not find him. 
I had another card, however, and the time came at 
last to play it. I deduced from Palma's leaving the 
hotel on the very day when I took the emerald from 
the Custom-House, that it was prearranged that his 
hireling should stick to me until he obtained the 
gem, and then meet him at some rendezvous, pre- 
viously appointed. Hearing nothing during the 
past few days, he has perhaps thought that I had 
left the city, and that his man was still upon my 
track. Meanwhile I was perfecting my grand coup. 
With the aid of a physician, who is a confidential 
friend, I obtained a corpse from one of the hospitals. 



1 86 The Montezuma Emerald 

a man about my size, whose face we battered be- 
yond description. We dressed him in my clothing, 
and fixed the dagger which I had taken from my 
would-be assassin so tightly in the backbone that it 
would not drop out. Then one night we took our 
dummy to the river and securely anchored it in the 
water. Last night I simply cut it loose and let it 
drift down the river." 

" You knew of course that it would be taken to 
the Morgue," said Mr. Barnes. 

** Precisely. Then I dressed myself as a blind 
beggar, posted myself in front of the Morgue, and 
waited." 

"You were the beggar?" ejaculated the de- 
tective. 

** Yes. I have your quarter, and shall prize it as 
a souvenir. Indeed, I made nearly four dollars during 
the day. Begging seems to be lucrative. After the 
newspapers got on the street with the account of my 
death, I looked for developments. Palma came in 
due time, and went in. I presume that he saw the 
dagger, which was placed there for his special bene- 
fit, as well as the empty jewel-case, and at once con- 
cluded that his man had stolen the gem and meant 
to keep it for himself. Under these circumstances 
he would naturally be angry, and therefore less 
cautious and more easily shadowed. Before he 
came out, you turned up and stupidly brought a cab, 
which allowed my man to get a start of me. How- 
ever, I am a good runner, and as he only rode as far 
as Third Avenue, and then took the elevated rail- 



i < 



4 ( 



The Montezuma Emerald 187 

road, I easily followed him to his lair. Now I will 
explain to you what I wish you to do, if I may count 
on you 7** 

Assuredly." 

You must go into the street, and when I release 
the man in the cellar, you must track him. I will 
go to the other place, and we will see what happens 
when the men meet. We will both be there to see 
the fun." 

An hour later, Mr. Barnes was skilfully dogging a 
sneaking Mexican, who walked rapidly through one 
of the lowest streets on the East Side, until finally 
he dodged into a blind alley, and before the detective 
could make sure which of the many doors had al- 
lowed him ingress he had disappeared. A moment 
later a low whistle attacted his attention, and across 
in a doorway he saw a figure which beckoned to him. 
He went over and found Mr. Mitchel. 

" Palma is here. I have seen him. You see I 
was right. This is the place of appointment, and 
the cutthroat has come here straight. Hush ! What 
was that ?" 

There was a shriek, followed by another, and then 
silence. 

** Let us go up," said Mr. Barnes. *' Do you 
know which door ? ' * 

** Yes; follow me." 

Mr. Mitchel started across, but, just as they 
reached the door, footsteps were heard rapidly de- 
scending the stairs. Both men stood aside and 
waited. A minute later a cloaked figure bounded 



1 88 The Montezuma Emerald 

out, only to be gripped instantly by those in hiding. 
It was Palma, and he fought like a demon, but the 
long, powerful arms of Mr. Barnes encircled him, 
and, with a hug that would have made a bear en- 
vious, the scoundrel was soon subdued. Mr. Barnes 
then manacled him, while Mr. Mitchel ascended the 
stairs to see about the other man. He lay sprawl- 
ing on the floor, face downward, stabbed in the 
heart. 



\ 



A SINGULAR ABDUCTION 

Mr. Barnes was alone in his sanctum when an 
elderly gentleman of cultured manners was ushered 
in. The visitor sank into a seat and began his ap- 
peal at once. 

** Oh, Mr. Barnes," said he, " I am in great dis- 
tress. I hardly dared to hope that assistance was 
possible until I met my friend, Mr. Leroy Mitchel. 
You know him?** Mr. Barnes assented with a 
smile. ** Well," continued the old gentleman, 
** Mr. Mitchel said that you could surely assist me." 

* * Certainly. I will do all that is in my power, * * 
said the detective. 

** You are very kind. I hope you can aid me. 
But let me tell you the story. I am Richard Ged- 
ney, the broker. Perhaps you have heard the 
name?" Mr. Barnes nodded. "I thought so. 
* Old Dick,' they call me on the street, and some- 
times * Old Nick,* but that is only their joke. I do 
not believe they really dislike me, though I have 
grown rich. I have never cheated any one, nor 
wronged a friend in my life. But that is immaterial, 
except that it makes it hard to understand how any 

189 



I go A Singular Abduction 

one could have done me the great injury of stealing 
my daughter." 

*' Stealing your daughter ? '* interrupted the de- 
tective. ''Abduction?'' 

*' Abduction I suppose is your technical term. I 
call it plain stealing. To take a girl of fourteen 
away from her father's home is stealing, plain and 
simple. * ' 

'* When did this occur ? " 

*' Two days ago. Tuesday morning we missed 
her, though she may have been taken in the night. 
She was slightly ill on Monday evening, and her 
maid sent for our doctor, who ordered her to be put 
to bed and kept there. Next morning, that is, 
Tuesday, he called early, as he was going out on 
his rounds. He was admitted by the butler and 
went straight up to her room. He came down a 
few minutes later, rang the door-bell to call a servant, 
and reported that the child was not in her room. 
He left word that she must be put back to bed and 
that he would return in an hour. The butler gave 
the message to her maid, who became alarmed, as 
she supposed her mistress to be in bed. A search 
was begun, but the child had vanished." 

** How is it, Mr. Gedney, that the doctor did not 
speak to you personally instead of to the servant ? " 

** I cannot too much condemn myself. You see, 
I am an old whist player, and the temptation to play 
made me linger so late with some friends on Mon- 
day night that I preferred to remain in Newark 
where I was, and so did not reach home till ten 



A Singular Abduction 19 1 

o'clock Tuesday morning. By that time the mis- 
fortune had occurred." 

'* Have you made no discoveries as to what has 
become of her ? " 

** None. We have sent to all of our friends in the 
vain hope that she might have arisen early and gone 
out, but no one has seen her. She has disappeared as 
thoroughly as though she had been swallowed by an 
earthquake. Here, however, is a letter which reached 
me this morning. I cannot tell whether there 
is anything in it, or whether it is merely a cruel joke 
perpetrated by some crank who has heard of my 
loss.*' He handed the letter to the detective, who 
read as follows : 

** Your daughter is safe if you are sensible. If 
you want her back all you have to do is to state 
your figures. Make them high enough, and she '11 
be with you. Put a * Personal * in Herald for D. M., 
and I will answer.'* 

** Mr. Gedney,*' said Mr. Barnes, ** I am afraid 
this is a serious case. What has been done has been 
so thoroughly well accomplished that I believe we 
have no fool to deal with. His is a master hand. 
We must begin our work at once. I will take this 
up personally. Come, we must go out." 

They proceeded first to the Herald uptown office, 
and Mr. Barnes inserted the following advertise- 
ment: 

'* D. M. Communicate at once, stating lowest 
terms. Gedney." 



192 A Singular Abduction 

** Now we will go to your home, Mr. Gedney,*' 
said Mr. Barnes, and thither they went. 

Seating himself in a comfortable leather chair in 
the library, Mr. Barnes asked that the butler should 
be called. The man entered the room, and it was 
apparent at once that here was a good servant of 
the English type. 

** Moulton,** began Mr. Barnes, " I am a de- 
tective. I am going to find out where your young 
mistress has been taken." 

** I hope so, sir,*' said the butler. 

" Very well," said the detective. ** Now answer 
a few questions explicitly, and you may give me 
great assistance. On Tuesday morning you ad- 
mitted the doctor. At what time was it ? '* 

*' It was about eight o'clock, sir. We had just 
taken our seats at breakfast in the servants' hall, 
when the bell rang. That is how I know the hour. 
We are regular about meals in this house. We eat 
at eight and the master at nine." 

** What happened when you admitted the 
doctor ? " 

*' He asked for Miss Nora, and I told him she was 
not down yet. He said he supposed he could go 
up, and I said I supposed so, and he went." 
What did you do next ? " 
I went back to my breakfast." 
Did you tell the maid that the doctor had 
called ? " 

** Not just then, sir, for she had not come into the 
breakfast-room. " 



i * 



A Singular Abduction 193 

''When did you tell her?" 

** After I saw the doctor the second time. I 
heard the door-bell again and went up, when, to my 
surprise, there was the doctor. He said he rang 
because he did not know how else to call me. 
Then he said that Miss Nora had left her room, 
which was against the orders he gave the night be- 
fore, and that I was to tell the maid to have her 
back to bed, and he would call again. I went back 
to the breakfast-room. This time the maid was 
there, and frightened she was when I gave her the 
message." 

'* How long was it after you admitted the doctor 
the first time, when you answered his second ring ? *' 

** I should think five minutes, sir; though it might 
have been ten." 

** And during this five or ten minutes the maid 
was not in the breakfast-room ? " 

" No, sir." 

" Send her to me." The butler left the room, 
and, whilst waiting for the maid, Mr. Barnes ad- 
dressed Mr. Gedney. 

** Mr. Gedney," said he, ** you have not told me 
the name of the doctor." 

** His name is Donaldson. Everybody knows 
Dr. Donaldson." 

** Has he served you long ? " 

" Ever since I came to live in this neighborhood. 
About two years, I should say. He has seemed 
to be very fond of Elinora. Why, he has been here 
a half-dozen times asking for news of her since her 



«3 



194 A Singular Abduction 

disappearance. He has a curious theory which I can 
hardly credit. He thinks she may have wandered 
off in the night, asleep. But then he has not seen 
this letter from ' D. M.' yet.'' 

** I would like to speak to him about his somnam- 
bulistic idea. Do you think he will drop in to- 
day ? " 

*' He may be in at any moment, as he has not 
called yet this morning. ' Here is my daughter's 
maid." 

This directed the attention of Mr. Barnes to a 
young woman who at that moment entered. She 
was evidently dreadfully alarmed at being sum- 
moned to meet a detective, and her eyes showed 
that she had been weeping. 

" Come, my girl," said Mr. Barnes, reassuringly, 
" you need not be frightened. I am not an ogre. 
I only wish to ask you a few questions. You are 
willing to help me find your mistress, are you not ? " 

** Oh, indeed, indeed yes, sir! " 

** Then begin by telling me how she was on Mon- 
day night when you sent for the doctor." 

The girl composed herself with an effort, evidently 
satisfied that a detective was just like any ordinary 
man, and replied : 

** Miss Nora acted rather odd all Monday, and 
was melancholy like. She would sit and stare out 
of the window and not answer when she was spoken 
to. I thought perhaps something had bothered 
her, and so I left her alone, meaning to speak to 
her father at dinner-time. But he sent a tcleg^ram 



'< < 



A Singular Abduction 195 

saying he had to go out of town. So when Miss 
Nora would n't come down to dinner, and would n't 
answer me, but just kept staring out of the window, 
I got scared a little, and thought it best to send for 
Dr. Donaldson." 

What did he say when he came ? " 
He talked to her, but she would n't answer him 
either. He patted her on the head, and said she 
was sulky. Then he told me perhaps she was angry 
because her father had n't come home, but that she 
must not be allowed to brood over trifles. He said 
I must put her to bed, and he gave her some medi- 
cine that he said would put her to sleep." 

** Did you have any trouble to get her to 
bed ? " 

** No, sir, though that was strange. She just 
stood still and let me do everything. She did not 
help me or prevent me." 

When did you see her after that ? " 
I never saw her after that," and she began to 
cry softly. 

'* Come, come, don't cry. Your mistress is all 
right. I will bring her back. Now tell me why 
you did not see her again. Is it not your business 
to attend her in the morning ? " 

** Yes, sir, but she only gets up about eight 
o'clock, and the doctor told me he would call the 
first thing in the morning, and that I must not dis- 
turb her till he came. He said he wanted to wake 
her himself and see how she acted." 

'* You were not in the breakfast-room at eight 



< < 



< < 



<< 



< < 



196 A Singular Abduction 

o'clock,** said the detective, watching h^r closely; 
'* where were you ? ** 

The girl turned crimson, and stammered a few 
words inaudibly. 

** Come, tell me where you were. You were 
somewhere, you know. Where were you ? *' 

** I was in the downstairs hallway,** she said, 
slowly. 

Doing what ? '* 

I was talking to the policeman,*' she replied, 
more reluctantly. 

** Your beau ?'* asked Mr. Barnes, significantly. 

** No, sir. He is my husband.** She tossed her 
head defiantly, now that her secret was divulged. 

** Your husband ? ** said Mr. Barnes, slightly sur- 
prised. ** Why, then, did you hesitate to tell me 
of him ? ** 

* * Because — because,** — she stammered, again 
much troubled, — ** because, maybe, if I had n't been 
talking to him. Miss Nora would n't have been car- 
ried off. He might have seen the thief." 

" Just so," said Mr. Barnes. *' Well, that will 
do." The girl retired only too gladly. 

Mr. Barnes asked to be shown the room where 
the missing girl had slept, and made minute ex- 
aminations of everything. Up in the room a thought 
occurred to him, and he once more asked for the 
maid. 

'* Can you tell me," he asked, ** whether your 
mistress took any of her clothing with her ? " 

Well, sir," she replied, ** I miss the whole suit 



«( 



A Singular Abduction 197 

that she wore on Monday. It looks as though she 
must have dressed herself." 

Mr. Barnes made a few notes in his memorandum- 
book, and then with Mr. Gedney returned to the 
library. Here they found Dr. Donaldson, who had 
arrived whilst they were upstairs. Mr. Gedney in- 
troduced the doctor, a genial, pleasant man, who 
shook Mr. Barnes cordially by the hand, saying : 

** I am delighted, Mr. Barnes, that my old friend 
Gedney. has been sensible enough to engage you to 
unravel this affair rather than call in the police. 
The police are bunglers anyway, and only make 
scandal and publicity. You have looked into the 
matter, eh ? What do you think ? *' 

** That is precisely the question, Doctor, which I 
wish to ask you. What do you think ? Mr. Ged- 
ney says you suggest somnambulism." 

** I only said it might be that. I would not like 
to be too positive. You know that I called to see 
the dear girl Monday night. Well, I found her in 
a strange mood. In fact, thinking it over, I have 
almost convinced myself that what we took for 
stubbornness — sulks, I think I called it — was som- 
nambulism. That, in fact, she was asleep when I 
saw her. That would account for her not replying 
to questions, and offering no resistance when her 
maid removed her clothing to put her to bed. Still 
it is merely a guess. It is possible that she got up 
in the night and wandered out of the house. I 
only venture it as a possibility, a chance clue for 
you to work on." 



1 98 A Singular Abduction 

'* What do you think of this letter ? '* asked Mr. 
Barnes, handing the doctor the anonymous com- 
munication from *' D. M." 

The doctor read it over twice, and then said : 

** Looks more like somnambulism than ever. 
Don't you see ? She dressed herself in the 
night, and wandered off. Some scoundrel has 
found her and taken her to his home. Know- 
ing that her father has money, he holds her for 
ransom.** 

'* How do you know. Doctor,*' said Mr. Barnes, 
quietly, ** that * D. M.* is a he? The communica- 
tion is in typewriting, so that nothing can be learned 
from the chirography.** 

** Of course I don*t know it,'* said the doctor, 
testily. ** Still I *il wager that no woman ever con- 
cocted this scheme.'* 

** Again, how should her abductor know that her 
father is rich ? " 

** Why, I suppose her name may be on her cloth- 
ing, and once he discovered her parentage, he would 
know that. However he found it out, it is plain 
that he does know, or how could they, or he, or she, 
if you wish me to be so particular, have written this 
letter ? " 

This was unanswerable, so Mr. Barnes remained 
silent. 

** What move will you make first ?" asked the 
doctor. 

Mr. Barnes told him of the advertisement which 
he had inserted, and took his departure, requesting 



A Singular Abduction 199 

that if Mr. Gedney received any answer he should 
be notified at once. 

About half-past ten the next morning, Mr. Ged- 
ney presented himself to the detective and handed 
him the following letter : 

" I am glad you are sensible. Saw your adver- 
tisement, and I answer at once. I want twenty 
thousand dollars. That is my price. Now note 
what I have to say, and let me emphasize the fact 
that I mean every word. This is my first offer. 
Any dickering will make me increase my price, and 
I will never decrease it. To save time, let me tell 
you something else. I have no partner in this, so 
there is no one to squeal on me. No one on earth 
but myself knows where the girl is. Now for future 
arrangements. You will want to communicate with 
me. I don't mean you to have any chance to catch 
me with decoy letters or anything of that sort. I 
know already that you have that keen devil Barnes 
helping you. But he *11 meet his match this time. 
Here is my plan. You, or your detective, I don't 
care which, must go to the public telephone station 
in the Hoffman House at two o'clock sharp. I will 
go to another, never mind where, and will ring you 
up. When you answer, I will simply say, * D. M.' 
You will recognize the signal and can do the talking. 
I will not answer except by letter, because I won't 
even run the risk of that detective's hearing my 
voice, and some time in the future recognizing it. 
You see, I may need Barnes myself some day and 



200 A Singular Abduction 

would n*t like to be deprived of his valuable services. 
I enclose a piece of the girVs cloth dress and a lock 
of her hair to show that I am dealing square. 

** D. M." 



" Mr. Gedney," said Mr. Barnes, *' make your 
mind easy. Your daughter is safe, at all events. I 
suppose this bit of cloth and the hair satisfy you 
that the scoundrel really has her ? ** 

** Yes, I am convinced of that. But how does 
that make the girl safe ? " 

** The fellow wants the money. It is to his inter- 
est to be able to restore your daughter. My busi- 
ness shall be to get her without payment of ransom, 
and to catch the abductor. I '11 meet you at the 
Hoffman House at two o'clock." 

As soon as Mr. Gedney had gone, Mr. Barnes 
wrote the following note : 



< < 



Dr. Donaldson: — 

Dear Sir — I believe that I am on the right 
track, and all through the clue supplied by yourself. 
Please aid me a little further. I would like to know 
the exact size of the missing girl. As a physician, 
you will supply this even better than the father. 
Also inform me of any mark or peculiarity by which 
I might recognize her, alive or dead. Please answer 
at once. 

" Yours truly, 

'* J. Barnes." 



A Singular Abduction 201 

This he sent by a messenger, and received the 
following in reply : 



< < 

* i 



Mr. Barnes: — 

Dear Sir — I hope you will succeed. EHnora is 
small and slim, being rather undersized for her age. 
I should say about four feet ten inches, or there- 
about. I know of no distinctive mark whereby her 
body could be recognized, and hope that nothing 
of the sort seemingly suggested may be necessary. 
*' Yours truly, 

*' Robert Donaldson, M.D." 



Mr. Barnes read this, and appeared more pleased 
than its contents seemed to authorize. At the ap- 
pointed time he went to the Hoffman House. He 
found Mr. Gedney impatiently walking up and down 
the lobby. 

" Mr. Gedney," said he, " at the beginning of 
this case you offered me my own price for recover- 
ing your daughter. Now, supposing that you pay 
this ransom, it would appear that you would have 
had little need of my services. If, however, I get 
your daughter, and save you the necessity of pay- 
ing any ransom at all, I suppose you will admit that 
I have earned my reward ? *' . 

** Most assuredly.*' 

After this, Mr. Gedney was rather startled when 
he heard what the detective said to ** D. M." 
through the telephone. They shut themselves up 
in the little box, and very soon received the call and 



202 A Singular Abduction 

then the signal ** D. M.** as agreed. Mr. Barnes 
spoke to the abductor, who presumably was listen- 
ing. 

** We agree to your terms,** said he. " That is, 
we will pay twenty thousand dollars for the return 
of the girl unharmed. You are so shrewd that we 
suppose you will invent some scheme for receiving 
the money which will protect you from arrest, but 
at the same time we must be assured that the girl 
will be returned to us unharmed. In fact, she must 
be given to us as soon as the money is paid. Notify 
us immediately, as the father is in a hurry.** 

Mr. Barnes put up the instrument and ** rang off.*' 
Then he turned to Mr. Gedney and said : 

** That may surprise you. But what may astonish 
you more is that you must obtain twenty thousand 
dollars in cash at once. We will need it. Ask no 
questions, but depend upon me and trust me.** 

On the next day Mr. Gedney received the follow- 
ing letter : 

** You have more sense than I gave you credit for. 
So has that Barnes fellow, for it was his voice I heard 
through the *phone. You accept my terms. Very 
well. I *11 deal square and not raise you, though I 
ought to have made it twenty-five thousand at least. 
Come to the 'phone to-day, same hour, and I *11 ring 
you up, from a different station. Then you can tell 
me if you will be ready to-night, or to-morrow night. 
Either will suit me. Then here is the plan. You 
want to be sure the girl is all right. Then let the 



A Singular Abduction 203 

ambassador be your friend, Doctor Donaldson. He 
knows the girl and can tell that she is all right. Let 
him start from his house at midnight, and drive from 
his office up Madison Avenue rapidly till hailed by 
the signal ' D. M.' He must go fast enough to 
prevent being followed on foot. If there is no de- 
tective with him or following him, he will be hailed. 
Otherwise he will be allowed to pass. I will be in 
hiding with the girl. Warn the doctor that I will 
be armed, and will have a bead on him all the time. 
Any treachery will mean death. I will take the 
cash, give up the girl, and the transaction will be 
ended." 

When this was shown to the detective, he pro- 
posed that he and Mr. Gedney should call upon the 
doctor. This they did, and, after some argument, 
persuaded him to undertake the recovery of the girl 
that same night. 

** Mr. Gedney has decided to obtain his child at 
any sacrifice, * * said Mr. Barnes, ** and this scoundrel 
is so shrewd that there seems to be no way to entrap 
him. No effort will be made to follow you, so you 
need have no fear of any trouble from the thief. 
Only be sure that you obtain the right girl. It 
would be just possible that a wrong one might be 
given to you, and a new ransom demanded." 

** Oh, I shall know Elinora," said the doctor. 
** I will do this, but I think we ought to arrest the 
villain, if possible.** 

" I do not despair of doing so,** said Mr. Barnes. 



204 A Singular Abduction 

** Get a glimpse of his face if you can, and be sure 
to note where you receive the girl. When we get 
her she may give me a clue upon which an arrest 
may be made. We will wait for you at Mr. Ged- 
ney*s house.*' 

After midnight that night, Mr. Gedney paced the 
floor anxiously, while Mr. Barnes sat at a desk 
looking over some memoranda. Presently he went 
into the hall and had a long talk with the butler. 
One o'clock passed, and still no news. At half-past, 
however, horses' hoofs sounded upon the asphalt 
pavement, and a few minutes later the door-bell 
jingled. The door was quickly opened, and the 
doctor entered, bearing little EHnora asleep in his 



arms. 
< < 



My daughter ! * ' exclaimed the excited father. 
** Thank God, she is restored to me! " 

** Yes," said the doctor, ** here she is, safe and 
sound. I think, though, that she has been drugged, 
for she has slept ever since I received her. * ' 

** Did you have any trouble ? " asked Mr. Barnes, 
entering at this moment. He had lingered outside 
in the hall long enough to exchange a word with the 
butler. 

** None," said the doctor. ** At One Hundred 
and Second Street I heard the signal and stopped. 
A man came out of the shadow of a building, 
looked into the carriage, said * All right,' and asked 
if I had the cash. I replied affirmatively. He went 
back to the sidewalk and returned with the child in 
his arms, but with a pistol pointed at me. Then 



A Singular Abduction 205 

he said, * Pass out the money.* I did so, and he 
seemed satisfied, for he gave me the child, took the 
package, and ran off. I saw his face, but I fear my 
description will not avail you, for I am sure he was 
disguised." 

** Very possibly your description will be useless," 
said Mr. Barnes; ** but I have discovered the iden- 
tity of the abductor." 

" Impossible!" cried the doctor, amazed. 

** Let me prove that I am right," said Mr. Barnes. 
He went to the door and admitted the butler, ac- 
companied by the policeman who had been off his 
beat talking with the maid. Before his companions 
understood what was about to happen, Mr. Barnes 
said: 

** Officer, arrest that man!" Whereupon the 
policeman seized the doctor and held him as though 
in a vise. 

** What does this outrage mean ?" screamed the 
doctor, after ineffectually endeavoring to release 
himself. 

'* Put on the manacles, officer," said Mr. Barnes; 
** then we can talk. He is armed, and might be- 
come dangerous. " With the assistance of the detect- 
ive this was accomplished, and then Mr. Barnes 
addressed himself to Mr. Gedney. 

** Mr. Gedney, I had some slight suspicion of the 
truth after questioning the butler and the maid, but 
the first real clue came with the answer to the 
* Personal.* You brought that to me in the morning, 
and I noted that it was postmarked at the main office 



2o6 A Singular Abduction 

downtown at six A.M. Of course, it was possible 
that it might have been written after the appearance 
of the newspaper^ but if so, the thief was up very 
early. The doctor, however, knew of the * Personal * 
on the day previous, as I told him of it in your 
presence. That letter was written in typewriting, 
and I observed a curious error in the spelling of 
three words. I found the words * emphasize,* * recog- 
nize,* and * recognizing.* In each, instead of the * z,* 
we have a repetition of the * i,* that letter being 
doubled. I happen to know something about writing- 
machines. I felt certain that this letter had been 
written upon a Caligraph. In that machine the bar 
which carries the letter * i * is next to that which 
carries the letter * z.' It is not an uncommon thing 
when a typewriter is out of order for two bars to 
fail to pass one another. Thus, in writing * empha- 
size * the rapid writer would strike the * z * key be- 
fore the ' 1 * had fully descended. The result would 
be that the * z,* rising, would strike the * i * bar and 
carry it up again, thus doubling the * i,* instead of 
writing * iz.* The repetition of the mistake was 
evidence that it was a faulty machine. I also noted 
that this anonymous letter was upon paper from 
which the top had been torn away, I wrote to the 
doctor here, asking about the * size * of the girl, and 
for any marks whereby we might be able to ' recog- 
nize * the body. I used the words * size * and ' recog- 
nize,* hoping to tempt him to use them also in reply. 
In his answer I find the word * recognized * and also a 
similar word, * undersized.* In both we have a repe- 



A Singular Abduction 207 

tition of the double * i * error. Moreover, the paper 
of this letter from the doctor matched that upon 
which the anonymous communication had been 
written, provided I tore off the top, which bore his 
letterhead. This satisfied me that the doctor was 
our man. When the last letter came, proposing 
that he should be the ambassador, the trick was 
doubly sure. It was ingenious, for the abductor of 
course assured himself that he was not followed, and 
simply brought the girl home. But I set another 
trap. I secretly placed a cyclometer upon the doc- 
tor's carriage. He says that to-night he drove to 
One Hundred and Second Street, and back here, a 
total of ten miles. The cyclometer, which the butler 
obtained for me when the doctor arrived a while 
ago, shows that he drove less than a mile. He 
simply waited at his house until the proper time to 
come, and then drove here, bringing the girl with 
him." 

The doctor remained silent, but glared venom- 
ously at the man who had outwitted him. 

** But how did he get Elinora ? " asked Mr. Ged- 
ney. 

*' That queer yarn which he told us about somnam- 
bulism first suggested to me that he was pqssibly 
less ignorant than he pretended to be. I fear, Mr. 
Gedney, that your daughter is ill. I judge from the 
description of her condition, given by her maid, and 
admitted by this man, that she was suffering from 
an attack of catalepsy when he was summoned. 
When he called the next day, finding the girl still 



2o8 A Singular Abduction 

in a trance, he quickly dressed her and took her out 
to his carriage. Then he coolly returned, announced 
that she was not in her room, and drove away with 
her." 

** It seems incredible!*' exclaimed Mr. Gedney. 
" I have known the doctor so long that it is hard to 
believe that he is a criminal." 

** Criminals,** said Mr. Barnes, *' are often created 
by opportunity. That was probably the case here. 
The case is most peculiar. It is a crime which none 
but a physician could have conceived, and that one 
fact makes possible what to a casual observer might 
seem most improbable. An abduction is rarely suc- 
cessful, because of the difficulties which attend the 
crime, not the least of which are the struggles of 
the victim, and the story which will be told after the 
return of the child. Here all this was obviated. 
The doctor recognized catalepsy at the first visit. 
Perhaps during the night the possibility of readily 
compelling you to pay him a large sum of money 
grew into a tremendous temptation. With the pro- 
ject half formed, he called the next morning. Cir- 
cumstances favored the design. He found the girl 
unattended, and unresistant because of her condi- 
tion. He likewise knew that when he should have 
returned her, she could tell nothing of where she 
had been, because of her trance. He started down- 
stairs with her. There was no risk. If he had met 
any one, any excuse for bringing her from her room 
would have been accepted, because uttered by the 
family physician. He placed her in the carriage un- 



A Singular Abduction 209 

observed, and the most difficult part of the affair was 
accomplished. Many men of high degree are at 
heart rascals ; but through fear, either of law or loss 
of position, they lead fairly virtuous lives. Tempta- 
tion, accompanied by opportunity, coming to one of 
these, compasses his downfall, as has occurred in 
this instance. Criminals are recruited from all 
classes.'* 

The ransom money was recovered by searching 
the apartments of the doctor, and his guilt was thus 
indubitably proven. Mr. Mitchel, commenting upon 
the affair, simply said : 

** I sent you to him, Mr. Gedney, because Mr. 
Barnes is above his kind. He is no ordinary de- 
tective." 

»4 



VI 



THE AZTEC OPAL 

'* Mr. Mitchel," began Mr. Barnes, after ex- 
changing greetings, * * I have called to see you upon 
a subject which I am sure will enlist your keenest 
interest, for several reasons. It relates to a mag- 
nificent jewel; it concerns your intimate friends; 
and it is a problem requiring the most analytical 
qualities of the mind in its solution.** 

** Ah, then you have solved it?** asked Mr. 
Mitchel. 

** I think so. You shall judge. I have to-day 
been called in to investigate one of the most singu- 
lar cases that has fallen in my way. It is one in 
which the usual detective methods would be utterly 
valueless. The facts were presented to me, and the 
solution of the mystery could only be reached by 
analytical deductions.*' 

'* That is to say, by using your brains ? ** 

" Precisely. Now, as you have admitted that 
you consider yourself more expert in this direction 
than the ordinary detective, I wish to place you 
for once in the position of a detective, and then see 
you prove your ability.** 

210 



The Aztec Opal 211 

" Early this morning I was summoned, by a mes- 
senger, to go aboard of the steam yacht Idler which 
lay at anchor in the lower bay.** 

** Why, the Idler belongs to my friend, Mortimer 
Gray!** exclaimed Mr. Mitchel. 

'* Yes,** replied Mr. Barnes ; ** I told you that 
your friends are interested. I went immediately 
with the man who had come to my office, and in 
due season I was aboard of the yacht. Mr. Gray 
received me very politely, and took me to his private 
room adjoining the cabin. Here he explained to 
me that he had been off on a cruise for a few weeks, 
and was approaching the harbor last night, when, 
in accordance with his plans, a sumptuous dinner 
was served, as a sort of farewell feast, the party ex- 
pecting to separate to-day.** 

'* What guests were on the yacht ? ** 

*' I will tell you everything in order, as the facts 
were presented to me. Mr. Gray enumerated the 
party as follows : besides himself and his wife, there 
were his wife's sister, Mrs. Eugene Cortlandt, and 
her husband, a Wall Street broker; also, Mr. Ar- 
thur Livingstone and his sister, and a Mr. Dennett 
Moore, a young man supposed to be devoting him- 
self to Miss Livingstone.** 

'* That makes seven persons, three of whom are 
women. I ought to say, Mr. Barnes, that, though 
Mr. Gray is a club friend, I am not personally ac- 
quainted with his wife, nor with the others. So I 
have no advantage over you.** 

** I will come at once to the curious incident which 



212 The Aztec Opal 

made my presence desirable. According to Mr. 
Gray's story, the dinner had proceeded as far as the 
roast, when suddenly there was a slight shock as the 
yacht touched a bar, and at the same time the lamps 
spluttered and then went out, leaving the room 
totally dark. A second later the vessel righted her- 
self and sped on, so that, before any panic ensued, it 
was evident to all that the danger had passed. The 
gentlemen begged the ladies to resume their seats, 
and remain quiet till the lamps were lighted ; this, 
however, the attendants were unable to do, and 
they were ordered to bring fresh lamps. Thus there 
was almost total darkness for several minutes.*' 

** During which, I presume, the person who 
planned the affair readily consummated his de- 
sign ? " 

* * So you think that the whole series of events was 
prearranged ? Be that as it may, something did 
happen in that dark room. The women had started 
from their seats when the yacht touched, and when 
they groped their way back in the darkness some of 
them found the wrong places, as was seen when the 
fresh lamps were brought. This was considered a 
good joke, and there was some laughter, which was 
suddenly checked by an exclamation from Mr. Gray, 
who quickly asked his wife, * Where is your opal ? ' " 

'* Her opal ? " asked Mr. Mitchel, in tones which 
showed that his greatest interest was now aroused. 
*' Do you mean, Mr. Barnes, that she was wearing 
the Aztec Opal ?" 

** Oh, you know the gem ? " 



The Aztec Opal 213 

" I know nearly all gems of great value; but what 
of this one ? " 

** Mrs. Gray and her sister, Mrs. Cortlandt, had 
both donned d^collet^ costumes for this occasion, 
and Mrs. Gray had worn this opal as a pendant to a 
thin gold chain which hung around her neck. At 
Mr. Gray's question, all looked towards his wife, 
and it was noted that the clasp was open, and the 
opal missing. Of course it was supposed that it had 
merely fallen to the floor, and a search was immedi- 
ately instituted. But the opal could not be found." 

** That is certainly a very significant fact," said 
Mr. Mitchel. '* But was the search thorough ? '* 

** I should say extremely thorough, when we con- 
sider it was not conducted by a detective, who is 
supposed to be an expert in such matters. Mr. 
Gray described to me what was done, and he seems 
to have taken every precaution. He sent the at- 
tendants out of the salotiy and he and his guests 
systematically examined every part of the room.** 

*' Except the place where the opal really was 
concealed, you mean.'* 

** With that exception, of course, since they did 
not find the jewel. Not satisfied with this search 
by lamplight, Mr. Gray locked the saloUy so that no 
one could enter it during the night, and another 
investigation was made in the morning.*' 

** The pockets of the seven persons present were 
not examined, I presume ? " 

** No. I asked Mr. Gray why this had been 
omitted, and he said it was an indignity which he 



214 The Aztec Opal 

could not possibly show to a guest. As you have 
asked this question, Mr. Mitchel, it is only fair for 
me to tell you that when I spoke to Mr. Gray on 
the subject he seemed very much confused. Never- 
theless, however unwilling he may have been to 
search those of his guests who are innocent, he em- 
phatically told me that if I had reasonable proof 
that any one present had purloined the opal, he 
wished that individual to be treated as any other 
thief, without regard to sex or social position." 

** On^ can scarcely blame him, because that opal 
is worth a fabulous sum. I have myself offered 
Gray twenty thousand dollars for it, which was re- 
fused. This opal is one of the eyes of an Aztec 
idol, and if the other could be found, the two would 
be as interesting as any jewels in the world." 

*' That is the story which I was asked to unravel," 
continued Mr. Barnes, ** and I must now relate to 
you what steps I have taken toWkrds that end. It 
appears that, because of the loss of the jewel, no 
person has left the yacht, although no restraint was 
placed upon anyone by Mr. Gray. All knew, how- 
ever, that he had sent for a detective, and it was 
natural that no one should o^ffer to go until formally 
dismissed by the host. My plan, then, was to have 
a private interview with each of the seven persons 
who had been present at the dinner." 

** Then you exempted the attendants from your 
suspicions ? " 

** I did. There was but one way by which one of 
the servants could have stolen the opal, and this was 



The Aztec Opal 215 

prevented by Mr. Gray. It was possible that the 
opal had fallen on the floor, and, though not found 
at night, a servant might have discovered and have 
appropriated it on the following morning, had he 
been able to enter the salon. But Mr. Gray had 
locked the doors. No servant, however bold, would 
have been able to take the opal from the lady*s 
neck." 

" I think your reasoning is good, and we will con- 
fine ourselves to the original seven.** 

*' After my interview with Mr. Gray, I asked to 
have Mrs. Gray sent in to me. She came in, and at 
once I noted that she placed herself on the defen- 
sive. Women frequently adopt that manner with a 
detective. Her story was very brief. The main 
point was that she was aware of the theft before the 
lamps were relighted. In fact, she felt some one*s 
arms steal around her neck, and knew when the opal 
was taken. I asked why she had made no outcry, 
and whether she suspected any special person. To 
these questions she replied that she supposed it was 
merely a joke perpetrated in the darkness, and there- 
fore had made no resistance. She would not name 
anyone as suspected by her, but she was willing to 
tell me that the arms were bare, as she detected 
when they touched her neck. I must say here, that 
although Miss Livingstone*s dress was not cut low 
in the neck, it was, practically, sleeveless ; and Mrs. 
Cortlandt's dress had no sleeves at all. One other 
significant statement made by this lady was that her 
husband had mentioned to her your offer of twenty 



2i6 The Aztec Opal 

thousand dollars for the opal, and had urged her to 
permit him to sell it, but she had refused.** 

** So it was madame who would not sell ? The 
plot thickens.** 

'* You will observe, of course, the point about the 
naked arms of the thief. I therefore sent for Mrs. 
Cortlandt next. She had a curious story to tell. 
Unlike her sister, she was quite willing to express 
her suspicions. Indeed, she plainly intimated that 
she supposed that Mr. Gray himself had taken the 
jewel. I will endeavor to repeat her words. 

** * Mr. Barnes,* said she, * the affair is very simple. 
Gray is a miserable old skinflint. A Mr. Mitchel, a 
crank who collects gems, offered to buy that opal, 
and he has been bothering my sister for it ever since. 
When the lamps went out, he took the opportunity 
to steal it. I do not think this — I know it. How ? 
Well, on account of the confusion and darkness, I 
sat in my sister*s seat when I returned to the table; 
this explains his mistake. He put his arms around 
my neck, and deliberately felt for the opal. I did 
not understand his purpose at the time, but now 
it is very evident.' 

** * Yes, madame,* said I, ' but how do you know 
it was Mr. Gray ? * 

'* ' Why, I grabbed his hand, and before he could 
pull it away I felt the large cameo ring on his little 
finger. Oh, there is no doubt whatever.* 

'* I asked her whether Mr. Gray had his sleeves 
rolled up, and, though she could not understand the 
purport of the question, she said * No.* Next I had 



The Aztec Opal 217 

Miss Livingstone come in. She is a slight, tremu- 
lous young lady, who cries at the slightest provoca- 
tion. During the interview, brief as it was, it was 
only by the greatest diplomacy that I avoided a 
scene of hysterics. She tried very hard to convince 
me that she knew absolutely nothing. She had not 
left her seat during the disturbance ; of that she was 
sure. So how could she know anything about it ? 
I asked her to name the one who she thought might 
have taken the opal, and at this her agitation reached 
such a climax that I was obliged to let her go.'' 
*' You gained very little from her, I should say." 
" In a case of this kind, Mr. Mitchel, where the 
criminal is surely one of a very few persons, we 
cannot fail to gain something from each person's 
story. A significant feature here was that though 
Miss Livingstone assures us that she did not leave 
her seat, she was sitting in a diflerent place when 
the lamps were lighted again." 

That might mean anything or nothing." 
Exactly. But we are not deducing values yet. 
Mr. Dennett Moore came to me next, and he is a 
straightforward, honest man if I ever saw one. He 
declared that the whole aflair was a great mystery 
to him, and that, while ordinarily he would not care 
anything about it, he could not but be somewhat 
interested, because he thought that one of the ladies, 
he would not say which one, suspected him. Mr. 
Livingstone also impressed me favorably, in spite of 
the fact that he did not remove his cigarette from 
his mouth throughout the whole of my interview 



< < 



< < 



2i8 The Aztec Opal 

with him. He declined to name the person sus- 
pected by him, though he admitted that he could 
do so. He made this significant remark: 

** * You are a detective of experience, Mr. Barnes, 
and ought to be able to decide which man amongst 
us could place his arms around Mrs. Gray's neck 
without causing her to cry out. But if your imagin- 
ation fails you, suppose you inquire into the financial 
standing of all of us, and see which one would be 
most likely to profit by thieving ? Ask Mr. Cort- 
landt.'" 

** Evidently Mr. Livingstone knows more than he 
tells." 

** Yet he told enough for one to guess his sus- 
picions, and to understand the delicacy which 
prompted him to say no more. He, however, gave 
me a good point upon which to question Mr. Cort- 
landt. When I asked that gentleman if any of the 
men happened to be in pecuniary difficulties, he 
became grave at once. I will give you his answer. 

** * Mr. Livingstone and Mr. Moore are both ex- 
ceedingly wealthy men, and I am a millionaire, in 
very satisfactory business circumstances at present. 
But I am very sorry to say that though our host, 
Mr. Gray, is also a distinctly rich man, he has met 
with some reverses recently, and I can conceive that 
ready money would be useful to him. But for all 
that, it is preposterous to believe what your question 
evidently indicates. None of the persons in this 
party is a thief, and least of* all could we suspect 
Mr. Gray. I am sure that if he wished his wife's 



The Aztec Opal 219 

opal, she would give it to him cheerfully. No, Mr. 
Barnes, the opal is in some crack or crevice which 
we have overlooked. It is lost, not stolen.* 

** That ended the interview with the several per- 
sons present, but I made one or two other inquiries, 
from which I elicited at least two significant facts. 
First, it was Mr. Gray himself who had indicated 
the course by which the yacht was steered last night, 
and which ran her over a sand-bar. Second, some 
one had nearly emptied the oil from the lamps, so 
that they would have burned out in a short time, even 
though the yacht had not touched.** 

** These, then, are your facts. And from these 
you have solved the problem. Well, Mr. Barnes, 
who stole the opal ? ** 

" Mr. Mitchel, I have told you all I know, but I 
wish you to work out a solution before I reveal my 
own opinion.** 

** I have already done so, Mr. Barnes. Here; I 
will write my suspicion on a bit of paper. So. 
Now tell me yours, and you shall know mine after- 
wards.** 

** Why, to my mind it is very simple. Mr. Gray, 
failing to obtain the opal from his wife by fair means, 
resorted to a trick. He removed the oil from the 
lamps, and charted out a course for his yacht which 
would take her over a sand-bar, and when the op- 
portune moment came he stole the jewel. His 
actions since then have been merely to cover his 
crime by shrouding the affair with mystery. By 
insisting upon a thorough search, and even sending 



220 The Aztec Opal 

for a detective, he makes it impossible for those who 
were present to accuse him hereafter. Undoubtedly 
Mr. Cortlandt's opinion will be the one generally 
adopted. Now what do you think ? " 

** I think I will go with you at once, and board 
the yacht Id/er.'* 

** But you have not told me whom you suspect," 
said Mr. Barnes, somewhat irritated. 

** Oh, that is immaterial,'* said Mr. Mitchel, 
calmly preparing for the street. ** I do not suspect 
Mr. Gray, so if you are correct you will have shown 
better ability than I. Come, let us hurry." 

On their way to the dock from which they were 
to take the little steam launch which was waiting to 
carry the detective back to the yacht, Mr. Barnes 
asked Mr. Mitchel the following question : 

** Mr. Mitchel,*' said he. '' you will note that Mrs. 
Cortlandt alluded to you as a * crank who collects 
gems.* I must admit that I have myself harbored a 
great curiosity as to your reasons for purchasing 
jewels which are valued beyond a mere conserva- 
tive commercial price. Would you mind explaining 
why you began your collection ? ** 

** I seldom explain my motives to others, espe- 
cially when they relate to my more important pur- 
suits in life. But in view of all that has passed 
between us, I think your curiosity justifiable, and I 
will gratify it. To begin with, I am a very wealthy 
man. I inherited great riches, and I have made a 
fortune myself. Have you any conception of the 
difficulties which harass a man of means ? ** 



The Aztec Opal 221 

" Perhaps not in minute detail, though I can 
guess that the lot of the rich is not as free from care 
as the pauper thinks it is." 

** The point is this : the difficulty with a poor man 
is to get rich, while with the rich man the greatest 
trouble is to prevent the increase of his wealth. 
Some men, of course, make no effort in that direc- 
tion, and those men are a menace to society. My 
own idea of the proper use of a fortune is to manage 
it for the benefit of others, as well as one's self, and 
especially to prevent its increase.'* 

** And is it so difficult to do this ? Cannot money 
be spent without limit ? ** 

** Yes; but unlimited evil follows such a course. 
This is sufficient to indicate to you that I am ever 
in search of a legitimate means of spending my in- 
come, provided that I may do good thereby. If I 
can do this, and at the same time afford myself 
pleasure, I claim that I am making the best use of 
my money. . Now, I happen to be so constituted 
that the most interesting studies to me are social 
problems, and of these I am most entertained with 
the causes and environments of crime. Such a 
problem as the one you have brought to me to-day 
is of immense attractiveness to me, because the en- 
vironment is one which is commonly supposed to 
preclude rather than to invite crime. Yet we have 
seen that despite the wealth of all concerned, some 
one has stooped to the commonest of crimes, — theft." 

** But what has this to do with your collection of 
jewels ? ** 



% 



222 The Aztec Opal 

*' Everything. Jewels — especially those of great 
magnitude — seem to be a special cause of crime. A 
hundred-carat diamond will tempt a man to theft as 
surely as the false beacon on a rocky shore entices 
the mariner to wreck and ruin. All the great jewels i 
of the world have murder and other crimes woven 
in their histories. My attention was first called to 
this by accidentally hearing a plot at a ball to rob 
the lady of the house of a large ruby which she wore 
on her breast. I went to her, and told her enough 
to persuade her to sell the stone to me. I fastened 
it into my scarf, where the plotters might see it if 
they remained at the ball. By my act I prevented 
a crime that night." 

** Then am I to understand that you buy jewels 
with that end in view ? ** 

** After that night I conceived this idea. If all 
the great jewels in the world could be collected to- 
gether, and put in a place of safety, hundreds of 
crimes would be prevented, even before they had 
been conceived. Moreover, the search for, and ac- 
quirement of, these jewels would necessarily afford 
me abundant opportunity for studying the crimes 
which are perpetrated in order to gain possession of 
them. Thus you understand more thoroughly why 
I am anxious to pursue this problem of the Aztec 
Opal." 

Several hours later Mr. Mitchel and Mr. Barnes 
were sitting at a quiet table in the corner of the 
dining-room at Mr. Mitchells club. On board the 
yacht Mr. Mitchel had acted rather mysteriously. 



The Aztec Opal 223 

He had been closeted a while with Mr. Gray, after 
which he had had an interview with two or three of 
the others. Then, when Mr. Barnes had begun to 
feel neglected, and tired of waiting alone on the 
deck, Mr. Mitchel had come towards him, arm in 
arm with Mr. Gray, and the latter had said : 

** I am very much obliged to you, Mr. Barnes, 
for your services in this affair, and I trust the en- 
closed check will remunerate you for your trouble." 

Mr. Barnes, not quite comprehending it all, had 
attempted to protest, but Mr. Mitchel had taken him 
by the arm, and hurried him off. In the cab which 
bore them to the club the detective asked for an ex- 
planation, but Mr. Mitchel only replied : 

** I am too hungry to talk now. We will have 
dinner first." 

The dinner was over at last, and nuts and coffee 
were before them, when Mr. Mitchel took a small 
parcel from his pocket, and handed it to Mr. Barnes, 
saying : 

* * It is a beauty, is it not ? * ' 

Mr. Barnes removed the tissue paper, and a large 
opal fell on the table-cloth, where it sparkled with 
a thousand colors under the electric lamps. 

'* Do you mean that this is ** cried the de- 
tective. 

** The Aztec Opal, and the finest harlequin I ever 
saw," interrupted Mr. Mitchel. ** But you wish to 
know how it came into my possession ? Principally 
so that it may join the collection and cease to be a 
temptation in this world of wickedness." 




224 The Aztec Opal 

'" Then Mr. Gray did not steal it ?** asked Mr. 
Barnes, with a touch of chagrin in his voice. 

** No, Mr. Barnes. Mr. Gray did not steal it. 
But you are not to consider yourself very much at 
fault. Mr. Gray tried to steal it, only he failed. 
That was not your fault, of course. You read his 
actions aright, but you did not give enough weight 
to the stories of the others." 

'* What important point did I omit from my cal- 
culations ? " 

** I might mention the bare arms which Mrs. 
Gray said she felt around her neck. It was evi- 
dently Mr. Gray who looked for the opal on the 
neck of his sister-in-law, but as he did not bare his 
arms before approaching her, he would not have 
done so later." 

** Do you mean that Miss Livingstone was the 
thief?" 

* * No. Being hysterical. Miss Livingstone changed 
her seat without realizing it, but that does not make 
her a thief. Her excitement when with you was 
due to her suspicions, which, by the way, were cor- 
rect. But let us return for a moment to the bare 
arms. That was the clue from which I worked. It 
was evident to me that the thief was a man, and it 
was equally plain that, in the hurry of the few mo- 
ments of darkness, no man would have rolled up his 
sleeves, risking the return of the attendants with 
lamps, and the consequent discovery of himself in 
such a singular disarrangement of costume." 

** How do you account for the bare arms ? " 



The Aztec Opal 225 

" The lady did not tell the truth, that is all. The 
arms which encircled her neck were not bare. 
Neither were they unknown to her. She told you 
that lie to shield the thief. She also told you that 
her husband wished to sell the Aztec Opal to me, 
but that she had refused. Thus she deftly led you 
to suspect him. Now, if she wished to shield the 
thief, yet was willing to accuse her husband, it fol- 
lowed that the husband was not the thief.'* 

** Very well reasoned, Mr. Mitchel. I see now 
where you are tending, but I shall not get ahead of 
your story." 

'* So much I had deduced before we went on 
board the yacht. When I found myself alone with 
Gray I candidly told him of your suspicions, and 
your reasons for harboring them. He was very 
much disturbed, and pleadingly asked me what I 
thought. As frankly, I told him that I believed 
that he had tried to take the opal from his wife, — 
we can scarcely call it stealing since the law does 
not, — but that I believed he had failed. He then 
confessed; admitted emptying the lamps, though 
he denied running the boat on the sand-bar. But 
he assured me that he had not reached his wife's 
chair when the lamps were brought in. He was, there- 
fore, much astonished at missing the gem. I promised 
him to find the jewel upon condition that he would 
sell it to me. To this he most willingly acceded." 

** But how could you be sure that you would re- 
cover the opal ? " 

** Partly by my knowledge of human nature, and 



226 The Aztec Opal 

partly because of my inherent faith in my own abili- 
ties. I sent for Mrs. Gray, and noted her attitude 
of defense, which, however, only satisfied me the 
more that I was right in my suspicions. I began by 
asking her if she knew the origin of the superstition 
that an opal brings bad luck to its owner. She did 
not, of course, comprehend my tactics, but she added 
that she* had heard the stupid superstition, but took 
no interest in such nonsense.* I then gravely ex- 
plained to her that the opal is the engagement stone 
of the Orient. The lover gives it to his sweetheart, 
and the belief is, that should she deceive him even 
in the most trifling manner, the opal will lose its 
brilliancy and become cloudy. I then suddenly 
asked her if she had ever noted a change in her opal. 
* What do you mean to insinuate ? * she cried out 
angrily. * I mean,* said I, sternly, * that if any opal 
has ever changed color in accordance with the super- 
stition, this one should have done so. I mean that 
though your husband greatly needs the money which 
I have offered him, you have refused to allow him to 
sell it, and yet you permitted another to take it 
from you last night. By this act you might have 
seriously injured if not ruined Mr. Gray. Why have 
you done it ? '* 

** How did she receive it ?" asked Mr. Barnes, 
admiring the ingenuity of Mr. Mitchel. 

** She began to sob, and between her tears she 
admitted that the opal had been taken by the man 
whom I suspected, but she earnestly declared that 
she had harbored no idea of injuring her husband. 



The Aztec Opal 227 

Indeed, she was so agitated in speaking upon this 
point, that I believe that Gray never thoroughly ex- 
plained to her why he wished to sell the gem. She 
urged me to recover the opal if possible, and pur- 
chase it, so that her husband might be relieved from 
his pecuniary embarrassment. I then sent for the 
thief, Mrs. Gray having told me his name; but 
would you not like to hear how I had picked him 
out before he went aboard ? I still have that bit of 
paper upon which I wrote his name, in confirmation 
of what I say.** 

** Of course I know that you mean Mr. Living- 
stone, but I would like to hear your reasons for sus- 
pecting him." 

** From your account Miss Livingstone suspected 
some one, and this caused her to be so agitated that 
she was unaware of the fact that she had changed 
her seat. Women are shrewd in these affairs, and 
I was confident that the girl had good reasons for 
her conduct. It was evident that the person in her 
mind was either her brother or her sweetheart. I 
decided between these two men from your account 
of your interviews with them. Moore impressed 
you as being honest, and he told you that one of the 
ladies suspected him. In this he was mistaken, but 
his speaking to you of it was not the act of a thief. 
Mr. Livingstone, on the other hand, tried to throw 
suspicion upon Mr. Gray.** 

** Of course that was sound reasoning after you 
had concluded that Mrs. Gray was lying. Now tell 
me how you recovered the jewel.** 



228 The Aztec Opal 

** That was easier than I expected. When I got 
him alone, I simply told Mr. Livingstone what I 
knew, and asked him to hand me the opal. With 
a perfectly imperturbable manner, understanding 
that I promised secrecy, he quietly took it from his 
pocket and gave it to me, saying: 

** Women are very poor conspirators. They are 
too weak.'* 

** What story did you tell Mr. Gray ?" 

** Oh, he would not be likely to inquire too closely 
into what I should tell him. My check was what 
he most cared for. I told him nothing definitely, 
but I hinted that his wife had secreted the gem 
during the darkness, that he might not ask her for 
it again ; and that she had intended to find it again 
at a future time, just as he had meant to pawn it 
and then pretend to recover it from the thief by 
offering a reward.'* 

** One more question. Why did Mr. Livingstone 
steal it ? '' 

** Ah; the truth about that is another mystery 
worth probing, and one which I shall make it my 
business to unravel. I will venture a prophecy. 
Mr. Livingstone did not steal it at all. Mrs. Gray 
simply handed it to him in the darkness. There 
must have been some powerful motive to lead her 
to such an act ; something which she was weighing, 
and decided impulsively. This brings me to a sec- 
ond point. Livingstone used the word conspira- 
tors ; that is a clue. You will recall that I told you 
that this gem is one of a pair of opals, and that 



The Aztec Opal 229 

with the other, the two would be as interesting as 
any jewels in the world. If anyone ever owns both 
it shall be your humble servant, Leroy Mitchel, 
Jewel Collector." 



VII 



THE DUPLICATE HARLEQUIN 

One day about two weeks after the unravelling of 
the mystery of the opal lost on board the yacht 
Idler, Mr. Barnes called upon Mr. Mitchel and was 
cordially received. 

** Glad to see you, Mr. Barnes. Anything stir- 
ing in the realm of crime ? " 

** * Stirring * would be a fitting adjective, I think, 
Mr. Mitchel. Ever since the Idler affair I have 
occupied myself with a study of the problem, which 
I am convinced we have but partially solved. You 
may recall that you gave me a clue." 

** You mean that Livingstone, when he gave me 
the opal, remarked, * Women are poor conspirators. ' 
Yes, I remember calling your attention to that. 
Has your clue led to any solution ? " 

** Oh, I am not out of the maze yet; more likely 
just entering the most intricate depths. Still, I 
flatter myself that I have accomplished something ; 
enough to satisfy me that ' mischief is brewing,* and 
that the conspirators are still conspiring. Moreover, 
there is little doubt that you are deeply concerned 
in the new plot. 



> » 



230 



The Duplicate Harlequin 231 

** What! You insinuate that I am in this con- 
spiracy ? * * 

** Only as a possible victim. You are the object 
of the plot." 

** Perhaps you think that I am in danger ? ** Mr. 
Mitchel smiled as though the idea of danger were a 
pleasurable one. 

** Were you any other man than yourself, I should 
say most decidedly that you are in danger." 

** But, being myself, you fancy that the danger 
will pass from .me ? * * 

** Being yourself, I anticipate that you will com- 
pel the danger to pass from you." 

** Mr. Barnes, you flatter me. Perhaps I may be 
able to thwart the conspirators, now that you warn 
me; if I do, however, I must admit my great in- 
debtedness to you. To be forewarned is to have 
the fight half won, and I candidly say that I was 
entirely unsuspicious of any lurking danger." 

** Exactly. With all your acumen, I was sure 
that your suspicions had not been aroused. The 
conspirators are wary, and, I assure you, unusually 
skilful. So, under all the circumstances, I felt it 
my duty to be on the alert. * ' 

** Ah, I see," said Mr. Mitchel, in that tone 
peculiar to him, which made it doubtful whether he 
spoke in earnest, or whether his^ words, hid keen 
satire. '* The old cat being asleep, the kitten, 
watches. That is very nice of you. Really, it is 
quite a comforting thought that so skilful a detective 
is ever guarding my person. Especially as I am the 



232 The Duplicate Harlequin 

owner of so many gems to which the covetous must 
ever look longingly." 

*' That is just how I reasoned it," said Mr. 
Barnes, eagerly, wishing to justify his actions, which 
he began to suspect Mr. Mitchel might resent. 
** You explained to me your reasons why you have 
purchased so many valuable jewels. You claimed 
that almost every large gem has been the cause, or 
rather the object, of crime. The Aztec Opal came 
into your possession under most peculiar circum- 
stances. In fact, you thwarted a criminal just as he 
had come into possession of it. But this criminal 
is a wealthy man. Not perhaps as rich as yourself, 
but rich enough to be above stealing even such a 
valuable bauble. It could not have been the in- 
trinsic value of the opal which tempted him ; it must 
have been that some special reason existed; some 
reason, I mean, for his acquiring possession of this 
particular opal. All this being true, it would be a 
natural sequence that his efforts to get the opal 
would not cease merely because it had changed 
hands." 

** Your argument is most interesting, Mr. Barnes, 
especially as it is without a flaw. As you say, from 
all this reasoning it was a natural sequence that Mr. 
Livingstone would continue his quest for the opal. 
This being so obvious, did you imagine that it had 
escaped me ? " 

Mr. Barnes was confused by the question. He 
really admired Mr. Mitchel very much, and though 
he considered him quite conceited, he also admitted 



The Duplicate Harlequin 233 

that he had great analytical powers and remarkable 
acumen. He'also, more than anything else, desired 
a perpetuation of his friendship ; indeed, it had been 
with an idea of increasing the bond between them 
that he had called. He had spent much of his time, 
time which could have been occupied with other 
matters to better financial advantage, and all with 
the purpose of warding off from his friend a danger 
which he had at first considered as a distant possi- 
bility, but which later he looked upon as certain, if 
nothing intervened to hinder the plot, which he 
knew was rapidly approaching the moment of exe- 
cution. He therefore hastened to make further 
explanation : 

** Not at all — not at all. I am merely indicating 
the steps by which I reached my conclusions. I am 
giving you my reasons for what I fear you now may 
consider my interference in your affairs. Yet I as- 
sure you I meant it all *' 

** For the best. Why, of course, my friend; did 
you suppose that I doubted your good intent, 
merely because I spoke brusquely ? " Mr. Mitchel 
held out his hand cordially, and Mr. Barnes grasped 
it, glad to note the altered demeanor of his com- 
panion. Mr. Mitchel continued: " Will you never 
learn that my weakness is for antagonizing de- 
tectives ? When you come here to tell me that you 
have been * investigating * my private affairs, how 
could I resist telling you that I knew all about it, or 
that I could take care of myself ? I would not be 
Leroy Mitchel were it otherwise." 



234 The Duplicate Harlequin 

" How do you mean that you know all about it ?'* 

** Well, perhaps not all. I am not exactly om- 
niscient. Still, I know something. Let me see, 
now. How much do I know ? First, then, you 
have had this Livingstone watched. Second, you 
have introduced one of your spies, a young woman, 
into the home of Mrs. Gray. In spite of your 
alleged faith in Dennett Moore, you had him 
watched also, though for only two or three days. 
Lastly, you have discovered Pedro Domingo, 
and " 

** In Heaven's name, Mr. Mitchel, how do you 
know all this ? *' Mr. Barnes was utterly dumb- 
founded by what he had heard. 

** All this ?'* said Mr. Mitchel, with a suave smile; 
** why, I have mentioned only four small facts." 

'' Small facts?" 

** Yes, quite small. Let us run them over again. 
First, I stated that you had Mr. Livingstone watched. 
That was not hard to know, because I also had a 
spy upon his track.** 
You ? *' 

Yes, I. Why not ? Did you not just now 
agree that it was obvious that he would continue 
his efforts to get the opal ? Being determined that 
I should never part with it whilst alive, it likewise 
followed that he must kill me, or have me killed, in 
order to obtain it. Under these circumstances it 
was only common caution to have the man watched. 
Indeed, the method was altogether too common. 
It was bizarre. Still, my spy was no common spy. 



< < 



<< 



<< 



The Duplicate Harlequin 235 

In that, at least, my method was unique. Secondly, 
I claimed that you had introduced a woman spy into 
the home of Mrs. Gray. To learn this was even 
easier. I deduced it from what I know of your 
methods. You played the same trick on my wife 
once, I think you will recall. Supposing Mrs. Gray 
to be a conspirator (that was your clue, I think), you 
would hardly watch Livingstone and neglect the 
woman. Yet the actual knowledge came to me in 
a very simple manner." 
How was that ? ** 
Why, Mr. Gray told me." 
Mr. Gray told you ? " 

*' Mr. Gray himself. You see, your assistants are 
not all so clever as yourself, though I doubt not this 
girl may think that she is a genius. You told her 
to seek a position in the house, and what does she 
do ? She goes straight to Mr. Gray and tells him 
her purpose ; hints that it might be well for him to 
know just what really actuated Mrs. Gray in the 
curious affair on the yacht, and agrees to * discover 
everything * — those were her words — if he would give 
her the opportunity. Poor man, she filled his mind 
with dire suspicions and he managed it so that she 
was taken into service. Up to the present time she 
has discovered nothing. At least, so she tells him.'* 

"The little she-devil! You said that she ex- 
plained her whole purpose. Do you mean " 

** Oh, no. She did not implicate you, nor divulge 
her true mission. The fun of the thing is that she 
claimed to be a * private detective ' and that this 



236 The Duplicate Harlequin 

venture was entirely her own idea. In fact, she is 
working for Mr. Gray. Is not that droll ? ** Mr. 
Mitchel threw back his head and laughed heartily. 
Mr. Barnes did not quite see the fun, and looked 
grim. All he said was : 

** She acted beyond her instructions, yet it seems 
that she has not done any harm ; and though she is 
like an untamed colt, apt to take the bit between 
her teeth, still she is shrewd. But I '11 curb her yet. 
Now as to your third fact. How did you know that 
I had Mr. Moore watched, and only for two or three 
days ? ' ' 

" Why, I recognized one of your spies following 
him one day down Broadway, and as Moore sailed 
for Europe two days after, I made the deduction 
that you had withdrawn your watch-dog.** 

" Well, then,'* said Mr. Barnes, testily, " how did 
you know that I had, as you declare, * discovered 
Pedro Domingo ' ? ** 

'* How did I know that ? Why — but that can 
wait. You certainly did not call this morning to 
ask me all these questions. You came, as I pre- 
sume, to convey information.** 

** Oh, you know so much, it is evidently un- 
necessary for me to tell you of my trifling dis- 
coveries.** Mr. Barnes was suffering from wounded 
pride. 

*' Come, come,** exclaimed Mr. Mitchel, cheerily, 
** be a man; don*t be downcast and fall into the 
dumps merely because I surprised a few trifling 
facts in your game, and could not resist the fun of 



\ 



The Duplicate Harlequin 237 

guying you a little. You see, I still admit that 
what I know are but trifling facts ; what you know, 
on the contrary, is perhaps of great importance. 
Indeed, I am assured that without your information, 
without a full knowledge of all that you have dis- 
covered, my own plans may go awry, and then the 
danger at which you hint might be all too real. Do 
you not see that, knowing that you are interested in 
this case, I have been only too willing to let half the 
burden of the investigation fall upon you ? That to 
your skill I have intrusted all of that work which I 
knew you could do so well ? That in the most 
literal sense we have been silent partners, and that 
I depended upon your friendship to bring you to me 
with your news, just as it has brought you ? ** 

This speech entirely mollified Mr. Barnes, and, 
with a brightening countenance, he exclaimed : 

** Mr. Mitchel, I *m an ass. You are right to 
laugh at me.** 

** Nonsense! I defy all other detectives, because 
Mr. Barnes works with me.** 

** Bosh!*' said the detective, deprecatingly, but 
pleased nevertheless by the words of flattery. 
" Well, then, suppose I tell you my story from the 
beginning ? ** 

** From the beginning, by all means.'* 

** In speaking of the woman whom I set to spy 
upon Mrs. Gray, you just now mentioned that I had 
once played the same trick upon your wife. Very 
true, and not only is this the same trick, but it is 
the same girl.** 



238 The Duplicate Harlequin 

** What! Lucette?" 

** The same. This is not the first time that she 
has chosen to resort to her own devices rather than 
to follow strictly the orders given to her. In this 
case, however, as I said before, she has done no 
harm, and on the contrary, I think you would find 
her report, which I received an hour ago, quite 
interesting.** 

** Ah, you have brought it with you ? " 

" Yes. I will read it to you. Of course it is not 
addressed to me, neither is there any signature. No 
names are mentioned except by initial. All this is 
the girl's own devising, so you see she is not entirely 
stupid. She writes : 

** * At last I have discovered everything.' You 
observe that she is not unappreciative of her own 
ability. * Mr. L. was right. Women are bad con- 
spirators. At least he is right as to Mrs. G. She 
has dropped the conspiracy entirely, if she ever was 
a real conspirator, which I doubt, for, though you 
may not suspect it, she loves her husband. How 
do I know ? Well, a woman has instincts about 
love. A man may swear eternal devotion to a wo- 
man eight hours a day for a year, without convinc- 
ing her, when she would detect the true lover by 
the way he ties her shoe-string, unasked. So here. 
I have not heard madame talking in her sleep, neither 
has she taken her maid for a confidante, though I 
think she might find a worse adviser. Still I say 
she loves her husband. How do I know ? When 
a woman is constantly doing things which add to 



The Duplicate Harlequin 239 

the comfort of a man, and for which she never re- 
ceives thanks, because they are such trifles, you may 
be sure the woman loves the man, and by hundreds 
of such tokens I know that Mrs. G. is in love with 
her husband. To reach the next point I must give 
you an axiom. A woman never loves more than 
one man at a time. She may have many lovers in 
the course of a lifetime, but in each instance she 
imagines that all previous affairs were delusions, and 
that at last the divine fire consumes her. To this 
last love she is constant until he proves unworthy, 
and ofttimes even after. No, a man may be able to 
love two persons, but a woman's affections are ever 
centred in a single idol. From which it is a logical 
deduction that Mrs. G. does not and did not love 
Mr. L. Then why did she give him the opal ? A 
question which will puzzle you, and for which you 
are at a loss for an answer. * * ' 

" She is not complimentary,** interrupted Mr. 
Mitchel. 

" Not very,** said Mr. Barnes, and then he con- 
tinued reading: 

** 'This is a question at which I arrived, as you 
see, by logical mental stages. This is the question 
to which I have found the reply. This is what I 
mean when I say I have discovered all: Yesterday 
afternoon Mr. L. called. Madame hesitated, but 
finally decided to see him. From her glances in my 
direction, I was sure she feared I might accidentally 
find it convenient to be near enough to a keyhole 
to overhear the conversation which was about to 



240 The Duplicate Harlequin 

ensue, and, as I did not wish her to make such an 
** accident " impossible, I innocently suggested that 
if she intended to receive a visitor, I should be glad 
to have permission to leave the house for an hour. • 
The trick worked to a charm. Madame seemed 
only too glad to get rid of me. I hurried down- 
stairs into the back parlor, where, by secreting my- 
self between the heavy portieres and the closed 
folding-doors, my sharp ears readily followed the 
conversation, except such few passages as were 
spoken in very low tones, but which I am sure were 
unimportant. The details I will give you when I 
see you. Suffice it to say that I discovered that 
madame's reason for refusing to let her husband sell 
the jewel to that crank Mr. M. ' " 

** Ah ; I see she remembers me,*' said Mr. 
Mitchel, with a smile. 

** How could she forget your locking her in a 
room when she was most anxious to be elsewhere ? 
But let me finish this: 

** * — to that crank Mr. M. was because Mr. L. 
was telling her how to make a deal more money out 
of the jewel. It seems that he has the mate to it, 
and that the two were stolen from an idol some- 
where in Mexico, and that a fabulous surn could be 
obtained by returning the two gems to the native 
priests. Just how, I do not know.' '* 

** So she did not discover everything, after all," 
said Mr. Mitchel. 

** No; but she is right in the main. Her report 
continues: 



The Duplicate Harlequin 241 



<< < 



Madame, however, hesitated to go into the 
venture, partly because Mr. L. insisted that the 
matter be kept secret from her husband, and more 
particularly because the money in exchange was not 
to be forthcoming immediately. On the yacht she 
changed her mind impulsively. The result of that 
you know.' 

** That is all,*' said Mr. Barnes, folding the paper 
and returning it to his pocket. 

** That is all you know ? " asked Mr. Mitchel. 

** No; that is all that Lucette knows. I know 
how the fabulous sum of money was to be had in 
exchange for the two opals. ' ' 

" Ah; that is more to our immediate purpose. 
How have you made this discovery ? " 

" My spies learned practically nothing by shadow- 
ing Livingstone, except that he has had several 
meetings with a half-breed Mexican who calls him- 
self Pedro Domingo. I decided that it would be 
best for me to interview Seflor Domingo myself, 
rather than to entrust him to a second man." 

** What a compliment to our friend Livingstone ! " 
said Mr. Mitchel, with a laugh. 

** I found the Mexican suspicious and difficult to 
approach at first. So I quickly decided that only a 
bold play would be successful. I told him that I 
was a detective, and related the incident of the steal- 
ing of the opal. At this his eyes glistened, but 
when I told him that the gem had been sold to a 
man of enormous wealth who would never again 
part with it, his eyes glared." 

z6 



242 The Duplicate Harlequin 



<< 
<< 



Yes, Domingo's eyes are glary at times. Go on." 
I explained to him that by this I meant that it 
would now be impossible for Mr. Livingstone to get 
the opal, and then I boldly asked him what reward 
I might expect if I could get it." 

'' How much'did he offer ? " 

** At first he merely laughed at me, but then I ex- 
plained that you are my friend, and that you merely 
buy such things to satisfy a hobby, and that, haying 
no especial desire for this particular jewel, I had 
little doubt that I could obtain it, provided it would 
be of great financial advantage to myself. In short, 
that you would sell to a friend what none other 
could buy." 

** Not bad, Mr. Barnes. What did Domingo say 
to that ? " 

** He asked for a day to think it over." 

" Which, of course, you granted. What, then, 
is his final answer ? " 

** He told me to get the opal first, and then he 
would talk business." 

'* Bravo! Domingo is becoming quite a Yankee." 

** Of course I watched the man during the inter- 
val, in order to learn whether or not he would con- 
sult with Mr. L., or any other adviser." 
What did this lead to ? " 
It led to Pasquale Sanchez." 

" What ! More Mexicans ? " 

** One more only. Sanchez lives in a house near 
where Domingo has his room. He tells me that he 
comes from the same district as Domingo. Although 



< < 



<< 



The Duplicate Harlequin 243 

Domingo did not make a confidant of him, or even 
ask his advice, his visit to his friend cleared up some 
things for me, for by following Domingo I came 
upon Sanchez.'* 

** What could he know, if, as you say, he was not 
in the confidence of Domingo ? " 

** He knew some things which seem to be common 
knowledge in his native land. He is even more 
Americanized than his friend, for he fully appreci- 
ates a glass of whiskey, though I doubt not the 
habit was first acquired at home. I should think it 
would taker many years to acquire such a — let me 
call it — capacity. I never saw a man who could 
swallow such powerful doses without a change of 
expression. The only effect seemed to be to loosen 
his tongue. It is needless to repeat all the stages 
by which I approached my subject. He knew all 
about the Aztec opals, — for really there are two of 
them, — except of course their present whereabouts. 
I asked him if they would be valuable, supposing 
that I could get possession of them. He was in- 
terested at once. * You get them, and I show you 
million dollars.' I explained to him that I might 
see a million dollars any day by visiting the United 
States Treasury, upon which, with many impreca- 
tions and useless interpolations of bad Spanish, 
he finally made it clear to me that the priests who 
have the idol from which the opals were obtained, 
have practically little power over their tribe while 
the * god is in heaven,* as has been explained to 
the faithful, the priests not caring to exhibit the 



244 The Duplicate Harlequin 

image without its glowing eyes. These priests, it 
seems, know where the mine is from which these 
opals were taken, and they would reveal this secret 
in exchange for the lost opals, because, though this 
mine is said to be very rich, they have been unable 
themselves to find any pieces sufficiently large and 
brilliant from which to duplicate the lost gems." 

** Then you think it was to obtain possession of 
this opal mine that Mr. Livingstone sought to obtain 
Mrs. Gray's opal ? " 

** Undoubtedly. So certain am I of this that I 
would wager that he will endeavor to get the opal 
from you." 

** Let me read a letter to you, Mr. Barnes." 

Mr. Mitchel took out a letter and read as follows : 



< < < 



Hi 



Leroy Mitchel, Esq. :— 
Dear Sir — In my letter of recent date I offered 
to you the duplicate of the Aztec Opal which you 
recently purchased from Mr. Gray. You paid Gray 
twenty thousand dollars, and I expressed my will- 
ingness to sell you mine for five thousand dollars 
in advance of this sum. In your letter just re- 
ceived, you agree to pay this amount, naming two 
conditions. First, you ask why I consider my opal 
worth more than the other, if it is an exact dupli- 
cate. Secondly, you wish me to explain what I 
meant by saying on the yacht that *' women are 
poor conspirators." 

** * In reply to your first question, my answer is, 
that however wealthy I may be I usually do business 



The Duplicate Harlequin 245 

strictly on business principles. These opals sepa- 
rately are worth in the open market twenty thousand 
dollars each, which sum you paid to Gray. But 
considering the history of the gems, and the fact 
that they are absolute duplicates the one of the 
other, it is not too much to declare that as soon as 
one person owns both gems, the value is enhanced 
twofold. That is to say, that the pair of opals to- 
gether would be worth seventy or eighty thousand 
dollars. This being true, I consider it fair to argue 
that whilst I should not expect more than twenty 
thousand dollars from any other person in the world, 
twenty-five thousand is a low sum for me to ask of 
the man who has the duplicate of this magnificent 
harlequin opal. 

** ' In regard to my remark about the ** conspira- 
tors,** the conspiracy in which I had induced Mrs. 
Gray to take part was entirely honorable, I assure 
you. I knew of Gray*s financial embarrassments 
and wished to aid him, without, however, permitting 
him to suspect my hand in the affair. He is so 
sensitive, you know. I therefore suggested to Mrs. 
Gray that she entrust her jewel to me, and promised 
to dispose of the two jewels together, thus realizing 
the enhanced value. I pointed out that in this 
manner she would be able to give her husband much 
more than he could possibly secure by the sale of 
the one stone. 

** * Trusting that I have fully complied with your 
conditions, I will call upon you at noon to-day, and 
will bring the opal with me. We can then complete 






<< 
«< 



246 The Duplicate Harlequin 

the transaction, unless you change your mind in the 
interval. Cordially yours, etc.* 

" So you see," said Mr. Mitchel, ** he offers to 
sell me his opal, rather than to purchase mine." 
It is strange,*' said Mr. Barnes, musingly. 

Why should he relinquish his hope of getting 
possession of that mine ? I do not believe it. 
There is some devilish trickery at work. But let 
me tell you the rest of my story." 
Oh, is there more ? *' 

Why, certainly. I have not yet explained my 
reason for thinking you might be in danger.*' 

** Ah, to be sure. My danger. I had forgotten 
all about it. Pardon my stupidity." 

** In further conversation with this Sanchez I put 
this proposition to him. * Suppose,* said I, * that 
your friend Domingo had one of these opals, and 
knew the man who had the other. What would he 
do ? * His answer was short, but to the point. 
• He get it, even if he kill.*** 

** So you think that Domingo might try murder ? *' 

** It is not impossible.'* 

** But, Mr. Barnes, he does not want my life. He 
wants the opal, and as that is, or rather has been 
until to-day, in the safety-vaults, how could he get 
it, even by killing me ? ** 

'* You have just admitted that it is not in the 
vaults at present." 

" But it is quite as much out of his reach in my 
safe here in this room." 



The Duplicate Harlequin 247 

'* But you might take it out of the safe. You 
might, in some manner, be persuaded to do so, to 
show it to some one." 

" Very true. In fact, that is why it is here. I 
must compare my opal with the one which Mr. 
Livingstone offers for sale, before I part with twenty- 
five thousand dollars. For you must remember that 
such a sum is a fabulous price for an opal, even 
though, as you know, these are the largest in the 
world." 

** From a mqney standpoint, of course, your pre- 
caution is proper. But do you not see that you are 
really making possible the very danger of which I 
came to warn you ? ** 

** You mean " 

** Murder in order to get possession of that ac- 
cursed ill-luck stone. But I fear my warning is not 
appreciated." 

** Indeed, my friend, it is, and I am glad that you 
have come in person to acquaint me with your anxiety 
in my behalf. This I will more thoroughly explain 
to you later. For the present, I may say that I am 
glad to have you here as a possible witness, in case 
murder, or any other crime, should be attempted." 

*' What other crime do you anticipate as possible ? 
Surely not theft ?" 

"Why not?" 

" What! Steal that opal from you, while you are 
present to see the deed committed ? That is a joke.*' 
Mr. Barnes laughed heartily. 

" Your laugh is a compliment," said Mr.* Mitch el. 



248 The Duplicate Harlequin 

** Yet that is exactly what I most anticipate — theft 
I am not sure that it may not be undertaken before 
my very eyes. Especially as the thief did not hesi- 
tate at a table filled with men and women. Sh! 
He is here." 

The electric street-door bell had sounded. Mr. 
Mitchel arose, and spoke hurriedly in a low tone. 

** That is probably Mr. Livingstone come to sell 
his opal, or to steal mine. We shall see. . Especially 
I desire that you should see. Consequently I have 
arranged matters in advance. Slip behind this book- 
case, which I have placed across the corner that you 
may have room to breathe. The books on the top 
shelf have been removed, and the tinted glass of the 
doors will not obstruct your view. From behind 
you will be able to see through quite readily.*' 

** Why, you seem to have expected me," said Mr. 
Barnes, getting into the hiding-place. 

** Yes, I expected you," said Mr. Mitchel, vouch- 
safing no further explanation. " Remember now, 
Mr. Barnes, you are not to interfere, whatever hap- 
pens, unless I call you. All I ask is that you use 
your eyes, and that good eyes will be required be 
sure, or I never should have arranged to have an 
extra pair to aid me on this occasion." 

A moment later Williams announced Mr. Living- 
stone. 

** Ask Mr. Livingstone to come up here to the 
library,** said Mr. Mitchel, and a little later he 
greeted his guest. 

'* Ah, glad to see you, Mr. Livingstone. Take a 



The Duplicate Harlequin 249 

seat here by my desk, and we can get right to busi- 
ness. First, though, let me offer you a cigar." 

Mr. Livingstone chose one from the box which 
Mr. Mitchel offered to him, and lighted it as he sat 
down. 

'* What a companionable feeling steals over one ' 
as he puffs a fine cigar, Mr. Mitchel! Who would 
accept such an offering as this and betray the confi- 
dence of his host ? " 

'* Who, indeed ? " said Mr. Mitchel. *' But why 
do you say that ? ** 

'* Why, I am not entirely a fool. You do not 
trust me. You are not sure in your own mind 
whether or not I committed a theft on board of the 
yacht.'* 

'* Am I not ? " Mr. Mitchel asked this in a tone 
that made Mr. Livingstone look upon it in the light 
of a question, whereas Mr. Barnes, behind the book- 
case, considered it as an answer. 

Why, no," said Mr. Livingstone, replying. 

Had you believed that the opal changed hands 
honorably, even though secretly, under cover of the 
darkness, you would not have asked me to explain 
my allusion to 'conspirators. * I trust, however, that 
my letter made it all clear to you." 

'' Quite clear." 

** Then you are still willing to make the pur- 
chase ? " 

" If you still desire to sell. A certified check for 
the amount is ready for you. Have you brought 
the opal ? " 



< i 



250 The Duplicate Harlequin 

'* Yes. Have you the duplicate ? It would be 
well to compare them before you purchase." 

'* If you do not mind, I will do so." 

Mr. Mitchel turned to his safe and brought out a 
box which Mr. Barnes thought he recognized. 
Opening it he drew out a marvellous string of pearls, 
which he laid aside, while he took from beneath, a 
velvet case which contained the opal. Returning 
the pearls to the box he restored that to the safe, 
which he locked. 

'* Now, if you will let me see your opal,** said Mr. 
Mitchel, " I will compare the gems.** 

'* Here it is,** said Mr. Livingstone, handing Mr. 
Mitchel his opal. 

Mr. Mitchel took the two opals in his hand, and, 
as they lay side by side, he examined them closely, 
observing the play of light as he turned them in 
various positions. To his critical eye they were 
marvellously beautiful ; matchless, though matched. 
None could see these two and wonder that the old 
priests in Mexico had searched in vain for a second 
pair like them. 

*' Do you know why these opals are so exactly 
alike ? ** asked Mr. Livingstone. 

*' I am not sure,'* said Mr. Mitchel, apparently 
absorbed in his scrutiny of the opals. ** I have 
heard many reasons suggested. If you know the 
true explanation, suppose you tell me.*' 

** Willingly. You will observe that in each opal 
red lights seem to predominate on one side, while 
the blue and green are reflected from the other. 



The Duplicate Harlequin 251 

Originally, this was one great egg-shaped opal, and 
it was cut in that shape, and then poised in the fore- 
head of a single-eyed idol by the priests of a thou- 
sand years ago. By an ingenious mechanism the 
eye could be made to revolve in its socket, so that 
either the red or the blue-green side would be vis- 
ible, as it suited the purpose of the priests, when 
overawing the tribesmen by pretended prophecies 
and other miraculous performances. In more re- 
cent times, since the advent of the Christians, one- 
eyed idols are not so plausible, and the priests cut 
the opal in half, thus making it serve in what may 
be termed a modernized idol." 

" Yes, I have heard that tale before. In fact, I 
have a metal ring which I was told would exactly 
encircle the two opals, if placed together to form an 

egg. 

" How could you have such a thing ? " asked Mr. 

Livingstone, with genuine surprise. 

" The man who stole the jewels, so the story 
goes, wishing to enhance their value as much as 
possible, arranged this as a scheme by which the 
genuineness of the opals could be tested. He placed 
the opals together, as before they were cut, and had 
a silver band made which would exactly clasp them 
in that position. This band opens and shuts with 
a spring catch, like a bracelet, and as, when closed, 
it exactly fits the opals, holding the two firmly to- 
gether, the owner of the band could easily tell 
whether the true opals were before him, or not. In 
some way the opals were next stolen without the 



252 The Duplicate Harlequin 

band, and their whereabouts was unknown when a 
dealer in Naples told me the story of the silver band, 
which he ofifered to^sell me. I scarcely credited his 
tale, but as all large jewels might in time be offered 
to me, I thought it well to purchase the band." 

** Why, then, if you still have it, it would be in- 
teresting to make the test, would it not ? " 
'* Yes, I think so. I will get the band." 
Mr. Mitchel placed the two opals on the desk be- 
fore him and went over to the safe, where he was 
occupied some time opening the combination lock. 
While he was thus busy a strange thing seemed to 
occur. At least it seemed strange to Mr. Barnes. 
He had marvelled to see Mr. Mitchel place the two 
opals within easy reach of Mr. Livingstone, and 
then deliberately turn his back while he opened the 
safe. But what seemed more mysterious was Mr. 
Livingstone's action. Mr. Mitchel had scarcely 
stooped before the safe when his guest leaned for- 
ward, with both arms outstretched simultaneously; 
his two hands grasped the opals, the hands then 
swiftly sought his vest pockets, after which he 
calmly puffed his cigar. Thus he seemed to have 
taken the opals from the table and to have placed 
them in his pockets. Yet how could he hope to 
explain their absence to Mr. Mitchel ? This thought 
flashed through Mr. Barnes's mind as his eyes in- 
stinctively turned again to the desk, when, to his 
utter astonishment, he saw the opals exactly where 
Mr. Mitchel had placed them. Had the thought 
that be could not explain away the disappearance 



The Duplicate Harlequin 253 

caused the man to change his mind at the very mo- 
ment when he had impulsively clutched the treasures? 
Mr. Barnes was puzzled, and somewhat worried too, 
for he began to fear that more had happened, or was 
happening, than he comprehended. 

'* Here is the band,*' said Mr. Mitchel, returning 
to the desk, and resuming his seat. ** Let us see 
how it fits the opals. First, let me ask you, are you 
confident that you are selling me one of the genuine 
Aztec opals ? " 

" I am. I have a history which makes its authen- 
ticity indubitable.** 

** Then we will try our little test. There; the 
band clamps the two perfectly. Look for your- 
self.*' 

" Certainly; the test is complete. These are un- 
doubtedly the Aztec opals. Mr. Mitchel, you are 
to be congratulated upon gaining possession of such 
unique gems.** 

Mr. Livingstone arose as though about to leave. 

** One moment, Mr. Livingstone; the jewels are 
not mine, yet. I have not paid you for yours.'* 

" Oh, between gentlemen there is no hurry about 
such matters.** 

** Between gentlemen it may be as you say. But 
you said this was to be strictly in accordance with 
business methods. I prefer to pay at once. Here 
is my certified check. I will also ask you to sign 
this receipt." 

Mr. Livingstone seemed to hesitate for a moment. 
Mr. Barnes wondered why ? He sat at the desk. 



254 The Duplicate Harlequin 

however, and, after reading the receipt, he signed it, 
and took the check, which he placed in his pocket- 
book, saying: 

" Of course we will be businesslike, if you insist, 
though I did not anticipate that you would take me 
so literally. That being over, Mr. Mitchel, I will 
bid you good morning." 

" You may go, Mr. Livingstone, wjien the trans- 
action is over, but not before." 

" What do you mean ?" demanded Mr. Living- 
stone aggressively, as he turned and faced Mr. 
Mitchel, who now stood close beside him. 

** I mean that you have accepted my money. 
Now I wish you to give me the opal." 

" I do not understand. There are your opals, 
just where you placed them on the table." 

'* We will have no quibbling, Mr. Livingstone. 
You have taken twenty-five thousand dollars of my 
money, and you have given me in exchange a worth- 
less imitation. Not satisfied with that, you have 
stolen my genuine opal.** 

** Damn you-^ — *' 

Mr. Livingstone made a movement as though to 
strike, but Mr. Mitchel stepped quickly back, and, 
quietly bringing forward his right arm, which had 
been held behind his back, it became evident that 
he held in his hand a revolver of large calibre. He 
did not raise the weapon, however, but merely re- 
marked : 

** I am armed. Think before you act." 

" Your infernal accusation astounds me," growled 



The Duplicate Harlequin 255 

Mr. Livingstone. " I hardly know what to say to 
you." 

" There is nothing to say, sir. You have no 
alternative but to give me my property. Yes, 
you have an alternative, — you may go to prison." 

" To prison! " The rilan laughed, but it was not 
a hearty laugh. 

" Yes, to prison. I believe that is the proper 
lodging-place for a thief." 

" Take care! *' cried Mr. Livingstone, advancing 
upon Mr. Mitchel. 

*' Mr. Barnes," said Mr. Mitchel, still without rais- 
ing his weapon. At this the man stopped as quickly as 
he had when the weapon was first shown. He seemed 
confounded when the detective stepped into view. 

** Ah," he sneered ; " so you have spies upon your 
guests ? " 

'* Always, when my guests are thieves." 

Again the words enraged him, and, starting for- 
ward, Mr. Livingstone exclaimed : 

" If you repeat those words, I *11 strangle you in 
spite of your weapon and your spy," 

" I have no wish to use harsh language, Mr. 
Livingstone. All I want is my property. Give me 
the two opals." 

** Again I tell you they are on your desk." 

" Where are the genuine opals, Mr. Barnes ? Of 
course you saw him commit the — that is, you saw 
the act." 

" They are in his vest pocket, one in each," said 
the detective. 



256 The Duplicate Harlequin 

** Since you will not give them to me, I must take 
them," said Mr. Mitchel, advancing towards Mr. 
Livingstone. That gentleman stood transfixed, 
livid with rage. As his antagonist was about to 
touch his vest pocket, his hand arose swiftly and he' 
aimed a deadly blow at Mr. Mitchel, but not only 
did Mr. Mitchel as swiftly lower his head, thus 
avoiding the blow, but before another could be 
struck, Mr. Barnes had jumped forward and grasped 
Mr. Livingstone from behind, pinioning his arms and 
holding him fast by placing his own knee in his ad- 
versary's back. Mr. Livingstone struggled fiercely, 
but almost instantly Mr. Mitchel took the opals 
from his pockets, and then quietly remarked : 

** Release him, Mr. Barnes. I have my property." 

Mr. Barnes obeyed, and for an instant Mr. Living- 
stone seemed weighing his chances, but evidently 
deciding that the odds were in all ways against him, 
he rushed from the apartment and out of the house. 

** Well, Mr. Mitchel," said Mr. Barnes, " now 
that the danger has passed, an explanation seems to 
be in order. You seem to have four opals." 

'* Yes; but that is merely seeming. You will 
readily understand why I wished your eyes, for 
without them I could not have taken my own off 
of the opals even for an instant." 

** Then you purposely turned your back when you 
went to get the silver band ? " 

** Assuredly. Why could I not have taken out 
the band in the first instance, and why did I lock 
the safe, making it necessary for me to take time 



< < 



i < 



i i 



it 



The Duplicate Harlequin 257 

with the combination ? Simply to give my man the 
opportunity to do his trick. You see, I knew before 
he came here exactly what he would do.*' 

How did you know ? *' 

You will recall that in his letter he offers to sell 
me the duplicate opal. That made me smile when 
I read it, for I already had been notified that he had 
had duplicates of his opal made.** 

You had been notified ? ** 

Yes. This whole affair flatters my vanity, for 
I anticipated the event in its minutest detail, and 
all by analytical deduction. You quite correctly 
argued that Livingston would not abandon his quest 
of the opal. I also reached that point, and then I 
asked myself, ' How will he get it, knowing that I 
would not sell ? ' I could find but one way. He 
would offer to sell his, and during the transaction 
try to steal mine. As he would need both opals in 
his Mexican mining venture, his only chance of 
carrying both away with him would be to have two 
others to leave in their stead. Thus I argued that 
he would endeavor to have two duplicates of his 
opal made. Ordinarily, opals are not sufficiently 
expensive to make it pay to produce spurious speci- 
mens. Consequently, it has been little done; in- 
deed, I doubt that the members of the trade in this 
city have any idea that doublet opals have been made 
and sold in this city. But I know it, and I know 
the man who made the doublets. These were com- 
mon opals, faced with thin layers of a fine quality 
of * harlequin * which often comes in such thin layers 

»7 



258 The Duplicate Harlequin 

that it is practically useless for cutting into stones, 
though it has been utilized for cameos and intaglios. 
This lapidary does his work admirably, and his 
cement is practically invisible. I went to this man 
and warned him that he might be called upon to 
duplicate a large and valuable opal, and I arranged 
that he should fill the order, but that he should 
notify me of the fact." 

" Ah, now I understand. The genuine opals lay 
on the desk, and when you turned to the safe Living- 
stone merely exchanged them for the spurious doub- 
lets. But tell me why did he risk bringing the real 
opal here at all ? Why not offer you one of the doub- 
lets, and then merely have one exchange to make ? *' 

" He was too shrewd to risk that. In the first 
place, he knows I am an expert, and that I would 
compare the two jewels before making the purchase; 
he feared that under such close scrutiny I would 
discover the deception. Secondly, the two genuine 
opals absolutely match each other. So also the 
two doublets are actual mates. But the doublets 
only approximately resemble the real opals." 

" Mr. Mitchel, you have managed Livingstone 
admirably, but there still remains the man Domingo. 
Until he is disposed of I still think there is danger. 
Pardon my pertinacity." 

*' I told you at the beginning of this incident that 
I had a spy upon Livingstone, but that though the 
method was commonplace, my choice of a spy was 
unique. My spy was Livingstone's partner, Do- 
mingo," 



i < 



ti 



The Duplicate Harlequin 259 

** What! You were on intimate terms with Do- 
mingo ? " 

" Was not that my best course ? I found the 
man, and at once explained to him that as Living- 
stone never could get my opal, it would be best to 
shift the partnership and aid me to get Living- 
stone's. Thus you see, having, as it were, conceived 
the logical course for Livingstone to pursue, I had 
his partner Domingo suggest it to him." 
Even the idea of the doublets ? ** 
Certainly. I gave Domingo the address of 
the lapidary, and Domingo supplied it to Living- 
stone.*' 

** Mr. Mitchel, you are a wonder as a schemer. 
But now you have Domingo on your hands ? " 

" Only for a short time. Domingo is not such a 
bloodthirsty cutthroat as your friend Sanchez made 
you believe. He readily admitted that the game 
was up when I explained to him that I had one of 
the opals, a fact which Livingstone had not com- 
municated to him. I had little difficulty in persuad- \ 
ing him to become my assistant; money liberally 
applied often proving a salve for blasted hopes. 
Besides, I have raised his hopes again, and in a way 
by which he may yet become possessed of that opal 
mine, and without a partner." 

** Why, how do you mean ?" 

" I shall give him the doublets, and I have no 
doubt he can palm them off on the old priests, who 
will not examine too closely, so anxious are they 
to see the eyes of the idol restored." 



26o The Duplicate Harlequin 

" There is yet one thing that I do not fully under- 
stand. Sanchez told me — 



lu. oancnez toia me " 



Sanchez told you nothing, except what he was 
instructed to tell you." 

** Do you mean to say " 

*' I mean that Sanchez's story of my danger was 
told to you so that you would come here this morn- 
ing. You noted yourself that I must have expected 
you, when you found the bookcase arranged for 
you. I had an idea that I might need a strong 
and faithful arm, and I had both. Mr. Barnes, 
without your assistance, I must have failed." 



VIII 

THE PEARLS OF ISIS 

Mr. Barnes sat for a while in silence, gazing at 
Mr. Mitchel. The masterly manner in which that 
gentleman had managed the affair throughout won 
his admiration and elevated him more than ever in 
his esteem. The denouement was admirable. Be- 
fore handing over the check Mr. Mitchel had led Mr. 
Livingstone to state in the presence of a concealed 
witness that the opal about to be sold was genuine, 
whereas, as a matter of fact, the one on the desk at 
that moment was spurious. Then the payment 
with a check and the exacting of a receipt furnished 
tangible proofs of the nature of the transaction. 
Thus, even eliminating the theft of the other opal, 
Mr. Mitchel was in the position to prove that the 
man had obtained a large sum of money by false 
pretenses. The recovery of the stolen opal practi- 
cally convicted Mr. Livingstone of a still greater 
crime, and with a witness to the various details of 
the occurrence Mr. Mitchel had so great a hold 
upon him that it would be most improbable that 
Mr. Livingstone would pursue his scheme further. 
The second conspirator, Domingo, was equally well 

261 



262 The Pearls of I sis 

disposed of, for if he returned to Mexico with the 
imitation opals, either the priests would discover the 
fraud and deal with the man themselves, or; by their 
failing to do so, he would gain possession of the 
opal mine. 

In either event there would be no reason for him 
to return to trouble Mr. Mitchel. 

" I see the whole scheme/* said Mr. Barnes at 
length, *' and I must congratulate you upon the 
conception and conduct of the affair. You have 
courteously said that I have been of some assist- 
ance, and though I doubt it, I would like to exact 
a price for my services." 

\* Certainly," said Mr. Mitchel. " Every man is 
worthy of his hire, even when he is not aware of the 
fact that he has been hired, I presume. Name your 
reward. What shall it be ? " 

** From my place of concealment, a while ago, I 
observed that before you took out the opal, you re- 
moved from the box a magnificent string of pearls. 
As you have claimed that all valuable jewels have 
some story of crime, or attempted crime, attached 
to them, I fancy you could tell an interesting tale 
about those pearls." 

** Ah; and you would like to hear the story ? " 

" Yes; very much! " 

'* Well, it is a pretty old one now, and no harm 
can come, especially if you receive the tale in 
confidence." 
Assuredly." 
They are beautiful, are they not ? " said Mr. 



< < 



< ( 



The Pearls of Isis 263 

Mitchel, taking them up almost affectionately, and 
handing them to Mr. Barnes. '* I call them the 
Pearls of Isis." 

"The Pearls of Isis?" said Mr. Barnes, taking 
them. '* An odd name, considering that the god- 
dess is a myth. How could she wear jewelry ? " 

** Oh, the name originated with myself. I will 
explain that in a moment. First let me say a few 
words in a general way. You ask me for the story 
of that string of pearls. If what is told of them in 
Mexico is true, there is a pathetic tale for each par- 
ticular pearl, aside from the many legends that are 
related of the entire string." 

'* And do you know all of these histories ? " 

** No, indeed. I wish that I did. But I can tell 
you some of the legendry. In Humboldt's Ameri- 
can Researches you will find an illustration showing 
the figure of what he calls * The Statue of an Aztec 
Priestess.* The original had been discovered by 
M. Dup^. The statue was cut from basalt, and the 
point of chief interest in it is the head-dress, which 
resembles the calantica, or veil of Isis, the Sphinxes, 
and other Egyptian statues. On the forehead of 
this stone priestess was found a string of pearls, of 
which Humboldt says: * The pearls have never 
been found on any Egyptian statue, and indicate a 
communication between the city of Tenochtitlan, 
ancient Mexico, and the coast of California, where 
pearls are found in great numbers.' Humboldt 
himself found a similar statue decorated with pearls 
in the ruins of Tezcuco, and this is still in the 



264 The Pearls of Isis 

museum at Berlin, where I have seen it. Hum- 
boldt doubted that these statues represented priest- 
esses, but thought rather that they were merely 
figures of ordinary women, and he bases this view 
on the fact that the statues have long hair, whereas 
it was the custom of the tepanteohuatzin, a digni- 
tary controlling the priestesses, to cut off the 
tresses of these virgins when they devoted them- 
selves to the services of the temple. M. Dup6 
thought that this statue represented one of the 
temple virgins, while, as I have said, Humboldt 
concluded that they had no religious connection. 
My own view is that both of these gentlemen were 
wrong, and that these and similar statues were 
images of the goddess Isis.** 

*' But I thought that Isis was an Old World 
goddess ? ** 

" So she was, and the oldest world is this con- 
tinent. We need not now enter upon a discussion 
of the reasons upon which I base my belief. Suffice 
it to say that I think I can prove to the satisfaction 
of any good archaeologist that both Isis and Osiris 
belong to Central America. And as those pearls in 
your hand once adorned an Aztec basaltic statue 
similar to those of Dup^ and Humboldt, I have 
chosen to call them the * Pearls of Isis.* ** 

" Ah ; then it is from their origin that you 
imagine that so many stories are connected with 
them. I have always heard that the priests of an- 
cient Mexico were a bloodthirsty lot, and as pearls 
are supposed by the superstitious to symbolize 



The Pearls of Isis 265 

tears, I can imagine the romances that might be 
built around these, especially if they were guarded 
by virgin priestesses." 

** Now you are utilizing your detective instinct to 
guess my tale before it is told. You are partly 
right. Many curious legends are to be heard from 
the natives in Mexico, explanatory of these pearl- 
bedecked idols. Two are particularly interesting, 
though you are not bound to accept them as strictly 
true. The first was related to me personally by an 
old man, who claimed a connection with the priest- 
hood through a lineage of priestly ancestors covering 
two thousand generations. This you will admit is 
a long service for a single family in worshipful care 
of a lot of idols, and it would at least be discourte- 
ous to doubt the word of such a truly holy man." 

** Oh, I shall not attempt to discredit or disprove 
the old fellow's story, whatever it may be." 

** That is very generous of you, considering your 
profession, and I am sure the old Aztec would feel 
duly honored. However, here is his story. Ac- 
cording to him, there were many beautiful women 
among the Aztecs, but only the most beautiful of 
these were acceptable to the gods as priestesses. 
Their entrance into the service of the temple, I 
imagine, must have been most trying, for he stated 
that it was only when the women came before the 
priests with their chosen lovers to be married that 
the priests were permitted to examine their faces in 
order to determine whether they were beautiful 
enough to become temple virgins. If, on such an 




266 The Pearls of I sis 

occasion, the bride seemed sufficiently beautiful, the 
priest, instead of uniting her to her lover, declared 
that the gods demanded her as their own, and she 
was forthwith consecrated to the service of the 
temple. They were then compelled to forswear 
the world, and, under threats of mysterious and 
direful punishments, they promised to guard their 
chastity, and devote their virgin lives to the gods. 
The mysterious punishment meted out to trans- 
gressors the old priest explained to me. Usually 
in such instances the girl would elope, most often 
with the lover of whom she had been deprived at 
the altar. No effort was made to recapture her. 
Such was the power of the priests, and such the 
superstitious dread of the anger of the gods, that 
. none would hold communication of any kind with 
the erring couple. Thus isolated and compelled to 
hide away in the forests, the unfortunate lovers 
would eventually live in hourly dread of disaster, 
until either the girl would voluntarily return to the 
priests to save her lover from the imagined fury of 
the gods, or else to save himself he would take the girl 
back. In either case the result would be the same. 
None ever saw her again. But, shortly after, a new 
pearl would appear upon the forehead of the idol." 

A new pearl ? How ? ** 

The old priest, whose word you have promised 
not to doubt, claimed that beneath the temple there 
was a dark, bottomless pool of water in which 
abounded the shell-fish from which pearls were taken. 
These molluscs were sacred, and to them were fed 






The Pearls of I sis 267 

the bodies of all the human beings sacrificed on 
their altars. Whenever one of the temple virgins 
broke her oath of fidelity to the gods, upon her re- 
turn she was dropped alive into this pool, and, curi- 
ous to relate, at the appearance of the next new 
moon the tepanteohuatzin would invariably discover 
a pearl of marvellous size.*' 

" Why, then, each pearl would represent a temple 
virgin reincarnated, as it were ? *' 

** Yes; one might almost imagine that in misery 
and grief over her unhappy love affair, she had wept 
until she had dissolved, and that then she had been 
precipitated, to use a chemical term, in the form of 
a pearl. Altogether the legend is not a bad one, 
and if we recall the connection between Isis and the 
crescent moon, you must admit my right to call 
these the Pearls of Isis.** 

'* Oh, I promised to dispute nothing. But did 
you not say that there was another legend ? * * 

'* Yes, and I am glad to say it has a much more 
fortuitous finale and is altogether more believable, 
though this one was not told to me by a man of 
God, or perhaps to be more accurate I should say a 
* man of the gods.* According to this rendition the 
temple virgins were chosen exactly as related in the 
other narrative, but before actually entering upon 
their duties there was a period of probation, a period 
of time covering ' one moon.' You see we cannot 
escape the moon in this connection. During this 
probationary period it was possible for the lover to 
regain his sweetheart by paying a ransom, and this 



268 The Pearls of I sis 

ransom was invariably a pearl of a certain weight and 
quality. By placing these pearls on the forehead 
of the goddess she was supposed to be repaid for 
the loss of one of her virgin attendants. All of 
which shows that her ladyship, Isis, in her love for 
finery, was peculiarly human and not unlike her 
sisters of to-day.** 

** This second story is very easy to believe, if one 
could understand where the p'earls were to be found.*' 

** Oh, that is easily explained. Humboldt was 
right in supposing that there was a communication 
with the Californian coast. There was a regular 
yearly journey to and from that place for the pur- 
poses of trade, and many of the Aztecs travelled 
thither purposely to engage in fishing for pearls. 
Whenever one of these fishers was fortunate enough 
to find a pearl of the kind demanded by the priests, 
he would hoard it up, and keep his good luck a 
secret. For with such a pearl could he not woo and 
win one of the fairest daughters of his tribe ? We 
can well imagine that without such a pearl the more 
cautious of the beauties would turn a deaf ear to 
lovers* pleadings, fearing to attract the eyes of the 
priests at the altar. Verily, in those days beauty 
was a doubtful advantage.** 

** Yes, indeed. Now I understand what you 
meant when you said that each of these pearls might 
have its own romance. For, according to the legends, 
they are either the penalty or the price of love. But 
you have not told me the particular story of these 
pearls.*' 



The Pearls of Isis 269 

** There may be as many as there are pearls, but 
I can tell you but one; though as that involves a 
story of crime, it will interest you I am sure. You 
will remember that when we were going to the yacht 
on that day when we solved the first opal mystery, I 
explained to you my reasons for buying up large 
gems. I think I told you of my first venture ? ** 

* * Yes ; you overheard a plot to steal a ruby, and 
you went to the hostess and bought the jewel, which 
you then stuck in your scarf, where the plotters 
could see it and know that it had changed hands.*' 

** That is the tale exactly. You will consider it 
a curious coincidence when I tell you that these 
pearls came into my possession in an almost similar 
manner.** 

** That is remarkable, I must say.** 

** And yet not so remarkable, either, all things 
considered. Crime, or rather the method of com- 
mitting a crime, is often suggested by previous occur- 
rences. A body is found in the river dismembered, 
and is a nine days* wonder. Yet, even though the 
mystery may be solved, and the murderer brought 
to justice, the police may scarcely have finished with 
the case before another dismembered body is dis- 
covered. Often, too, the second criminal goes un- 
punished ; in imitating his predecessor he avoids, or 
attempts to avoid, his mistakes. I suppose that is 
easier than formulating an entirely new plan. So I 
imagine that the attempt to steal the ruby, which I 
frustrated, and the stealing of the pearls, which was 
successfully managed, may have some connection, 



\ 



270 The Pearls of I sis 

more especially as both affairs occurred in the same 
house.** 

** In the same house ? *' 

** Yes, and within a month, or, to follow the 
legend, I might say in the same * moon.' I was in 
New Orleans at the time, and as it was in the Mardi 
Gras season, masked balls were common occurrences. 
One who was especially fond of this class of enter- 
tainment was Madame Damien. She was a widow, 
not yet thirty, and as her husband, Maurice Damien, 
had belonged to one of the wealthiest and most dis- 
tinguished of the old Creole families, there was no 
apparently good reason for denying her the rightful 
privilege of mixing with and receiving the best peo- 
ple of the city. Nevertheless, there were a few who 
declined to associate with her, or to allow the 
younger members of their households to do so." 
What were their reasons ? '* 
Reasons there were, but of such an impalpable 
nature that even those who most rigorously shunned 
her, ventured not to speak openly against her. For 
reasons, it might have been said that she smoked 
cigarettes — but other good women did likewise ; she 
entertained often, and served wine intemperately — 
others did the same; she permitted card-playing 
in her rooms, even for money stakes, — but the same 
thing occurred in other houses, though perhaps not so 
openly. Thus none of these reasons, you see, was 
sufficiently potent. But there were others, less easily 
discussed and more difficult to prove. It was whis- 
pered, very low and only in the ears of most trust- 









The Pearls of I sis 271 

worthy intimates, that Madame Damien permitted, 
nay, encouraged, young men to pay court to her. 
If true, she managed her courtiers most admirably, 
for openly she was most impartial in distributing her 
favors, while secretly —well, none penetrated the 
secrets of Madame Damien. One thing was cer- 
tainly in her favor ; there were no duels about her, 
and duelling was not uncommon in those days." 
I should say she was a clever woman." 
Just the word. Some, who could say nothing 
more, said she was altogether too clever. It was 
this woman who sold me the ruby." 

** The first acquisition to your collection ? " 
** Yes. I may as well briefly give you the facts, 
for thus you may see the connection between the 
two affairs. Land is not so valuable in our southern 
country as it is here in New York, and the houses 
of the wealthy are often in the midst of extensive 
gardens. Some of these not only have beautiful 
flower-beds, but likewise palms, cacti, oleanders, 
azaleas, and other tropical plants. Madame Da- 
mien's residence was in a garden which might almost 
be called a miniature park. The paths were of 
snow-white oyster shells, rolled and beaten until they 
resembled smooth white marble. The hedges were 
of arbor vitae cut with square top, except here and 
there where the trees were trained to form arched 
gateways through which the flower-beds could be 
reached. In places, often nearly concealed by 
flowering plants, were little houses, — lovers* nooks 
they are called, — made also of trained arbor vitae. 



272 The Pearls of Isis 

Of larger trees there were the palmetto, the orange, 
and the magnolia. On fdte nights these beautiful 
grounds would be illuminated with Chine'se lanterns, 
sufficiently numerous to make the scene a veritable 
fairy picture, but not shedding enough light to in- 
terfere with the walks of lovers who sought the 
garden paths between the dances." 

** Your description reminds one of Eden." 

** The similarity is greater than you imagine, for 
the serpent lurked in the rose bowers. At one of 
Madame Damien's masquerade fdtes I had left the 
warm rooms for a breath of the perfume-laden air 
without, and was walking along a path which led to 
the farthest end of the garden, when I was attracted 
by a stifled cry. I stopped and listened, and as it 
was not repeated I was just thinking that I had 
heard the mournful cry of a dove, when a tug at my 
sleeve caused me to turn quickly. At my side was 
a little creature in a green domino scarcely dis- 
tinguishable from the shrubbery that lined the walk. 
The girl stood on her toes, drew my head down to 
hers, and in a frightened tone whispered : 

** * The men. They mean mischief — to them — 
in there.* 

** She pointed to one of the little arbor -vitae 
houses near us, and turning fled back along the path 
before I could restrain her. 

** Much mystified, I stepped softly toward the little 
house, intending to discover if possible who might 
be within, when I seemed to hear voices behind me. 
Listening intently, I traced the sounds to the oppo- 



The Pearls of I sis 273 

site side of the hedge, and therefore I crept cautiously 
in that direction, satisfied that here were the men to 
whom the girl had made allusion. Here is what I 
heard : 

" ' As they come out, we must follow them. 
When I whistle, you jump on madame; I will take 
care of him. I will undertake to hurt him enough 
to make him squeal. That will alarm Madame, who 
will be so fearful lest her precious lover be hurt that 
you will have no difficulty in getting the ruby.* " 

** Quite a neat little plot; only needs the detail of 
garroting to afford us a perfect picture of the Span- 
ish brigand," said Mr. Barnes. 

** The men were undoubtedly professional thieves 
who considered the masquerade a good opportunity. 
As soon as they mentioned the ruby, I knew that 
the woman was none other than Madame Damien, 
who possessed a stone of rare beauty which she fre- 
quently wore. The point of greatest interest was 
that Madame seemed about to lose her usual good 
luck by having one of her love affairs discovered. 
How could I warn her without myself learning who 
was with her ? Strange though it may seem, I had 
no wish to know the name of her companion, so I 
hit upon an expedient. Going to the door of the 
little house I called aloud : 

** * Madame Damien ! Will you allow me to speak 
to you a moment ? * Of course she did not reply. 
From the deathlike stillness of the place one might 
have thought it empty. I was too sure, however, 
that she was there, so I spoke again. 

x8 



< t 



< < 



274 The Pearls of I sis 

** Madame, your very life is in danger, if you do 
not come out and speak to me.' In an instant she 
was at my side, talking in a quick whisper. 

* Who are you ? What do you mean ? ' 

* Pardon my intruding, but I was obliged to 
adopt this course, I assure you.' 

" I was speaking loudly enough to be heard by the 
men on the other side of the hedge. * I was pass- 
ing here just now, with no suspicion that you were 
here, alone,' — I purposely used the word, so that 
she might feel easy about her companion, — * when I 
chanced to overhear the plotting of two ruffians who 
are even now hidden in the hedge. They are lying 
in wait for you, intending to rob you of your ruby.* 

* Steal my ruby ? I don't understand.' 

* Had I not heard their plan, they would un- 
doubtedly have partly strangled you while they stole 
the jewel. It was to save you from the danger of 
this encounter and the loss that I felt it my duty to 
call you out to speak with me.' 

What shall I do ? ' 

I advise you to sell the stone to me.* 

Sell it to you ? How would that help matters ? ' 

* I have my check-book with me. You know 
who I am, — Leroy .Mitchel. There is light enough 
by this lantern to write, and I have a fountain-pen. 
If you sell me the ruby, and take the check, you 
may safely go to the house. The would-be thieves 
are listening and perhaps watching us. Conse- 
quently, they will know of this transaction and will 
have no reason to follow you.' 



< < 

< < 



H t 

< < < 

< < < 



The Pearls of Isis 275 



<< < 



But yourself ? * 

I can take care of myself, especially as I am 
armed. I shall follow you in a few moments, and I 
am sure no attack will be made upon me.' 

** She hesitated a moment. She did not really 
wish to sell the stone, yet her only other alternative 
was to inform me that as another man was present 
we might go to the house together without fear. 
But not wishing to disclose the presence of this other 
man, she decided to sell me the stone, or rather to 
appear to do so, for her plan was to return my 
check later and recover the ruby. This offer she 
made to me on the following day, but I declined be- 
cause the idea of forming my collection of rare gems 
had entered my mind when I heard the plotters 
talking. Before finally yielding she made one effort, 
being a plucky woman. 

** ' I need not sell you the ruby, Mr. Mitchd, for 
if, as you say, you are armed, I have no fear of ac- 
cepting your escort to the house.* 

** This of course would have defeated my pur- 
pose, so I hastily explained to her that I wished to 
stay behind because I intended to attempt to capture 
one or both of the ruffians. Whether or not she 
might have found some other means of avoiding my 
offer, she did not think of one then, so she handed 
me the ruby and I gave her the check. After she 
had left me, I cautiously searched the hedges but 
met no one. I was satisfied, however, that the men 
had heard all that had passed, and I also believed 
that they might still imagine that there would be a 



{ 



276 The Pearls of I sis 

chance to get the ruby, under the supposition that 
my purchase was but a pretense, and that as soon 
as I should return to the parlors I would restore the 
jewel. It was for this reason that I wore it con- 
spicuously in my scarf. ** 

** What of the little woman in the green domino ? 
Did you see her again ? ** 

** I caught a glimpse of her only, though I am 
sure she got a better view of me. It was in the 
house. Here, also, there was a profusion of green, 
the place being literally strewn with potted plants. 
I was standing near a group of palms when I caught 
sight of my lady of the green domino, gazing in- 
tently at me. As she saw that I had detected her 
presence, she swiftly glided away, and I lost her in 
the throng. I was certain, however, that she saw 
the ruby in my scarf, and so knew that I had pre- 
vented the mischief of which she had warned me.** 

** It would have been interesting to discover her 
identity.** 

"All in good time, Mr. Detective. We come now 
to the story of the string of pearls. It was just 
three weeks later. Madame was holding another 
f^te. Once more I was destined to play eaves- 
dropper, though this time with even still more 
startling results. I had been dancing a quadrille, 
my unknown partner being charmingly dressed in a 
costume which at the time I did not understand. I 
had noticed her several times during the evening, 
standing always alone, apparently neglected by the 
young men. So I asked her to be my partner, 



The Pearls of I sis 277 

rather in the spirit of giving her. some of the pleas- 
ures of the evening, though you must understand 
that I was at that time young myself and quite sus- 
ceptible to the charms of the opposite sex. She 
had seemed reluctant at first to dance with me, and 
then, as though impulsively altering her mind, she 
had expressed her willingness more in act than by 
any word, for she had not spoken. Clutching my 
arm nervously, she had led me a little way across 
the floor, and stopped where a couple was needed to 
fill a quadrille. En vis-h-vis was a couple who at- 
tracted her attention to such an extent that I almost 
imagined that my partner had brought me into this 
set with the purpose of watching them. The man 
was unmistakably dressed as Romeo, while the cos- 
tume of his partner was as mystifying to me as that 
of the girl beside me. I afterwards learned that she 
was assuming the guise of Helen of Troy." 

*' Your hostess, Madame Damien, I *11 be bound." 
'* You make a good guesser, Mr. Barnes. Madame 
Damien it was, though, truth to tell, I was so much 
interested in the silent, watchful girl beside me that 
I paid little attention to the others. The quadrille 
had just ended and I was wondering how best to 
make my little sphinx talk, when a strange thing 
happened. The couple opposite to us crossed to- 
ward us, and as they approached my partner swayed 
as though about to fall, and then suddenly toppled 
over against me, and in a whisper she said : 
** * I am dizzy. Take me out in the air.* 
'* Just then, * Helen of Troy,' hanging on the arm 



< < < 

< < 



278 The Pearls of Isis 

of her * Romeo,* passed so close to us that the 
women's costumes touched. She looked scrutiniz- 
ingly at the girl with me, and I heard her say to her 
companion, — 

That girl is a sphinx.* 
Then they passed on. Her words startled me, 
for I had just used the epithet in my* own mind in 
connection with my partner. I thought of her as a 
sphinx because of her silence. But now that some 
one else called her a sphinx, I observed that she 
wore a curious head-dress which reminded one of the 
great monument of the Eastern desert. Perhaps, 
then, she was but playing the part which she had 
assumed with her costume. At all events there 
seemed to be a mystery worthy of the effort at pene- 
tration. So I hurried out into the air with my little 
sphinx, and soon we were walking up one of the 
snow-white walks. I tried to induce her to talk, 
but though she seemed willing to remain in my 
companionship, she trembled a good deal but kept 
as mum as the stone image to which I now likened 
her. I was wondering by what device I might make 
her talk, when she utterly startled me by crying out : 

" * I wish I dared to tell you everything. Per- 
haps you might help me.* 

** * Tell me what you will, little one,* said I, ' and 
I will help you if I can, and keep your secret be- 
sides.* 

** * Oh, there is no secret,* she exclaimed; ' I am 
not so wicked as that. But we cannot talk here. 
Come, I know a place. * 



The Pearls of I sis 279 

" I followed her as she hurried me on, more mysti- 
fied than before. She tells me * there is no secret,' and 
that she is * not as wicked as that.' Why need she 
be wicked, to have a secret ? I could not fathom 
it, but as I was to know all, even though it were 
no secret, I was able to await the telling. Oddly 
enough, as it lieemed to me then, she led me to the 
very lovers' liook in which I had found Madame 
Damien when «I purchased the ruby. Before enter- 
ing, my little sphinx took the precaution to ex- 
tinguish the lanterns at the doorway, so that when 
we passed inside we were in gloom as impenetrable 
as that of one of the passageways in the pyramids. 
She seemed familiar with the place, for she took my 
hand and led me away to one side, where there was 
a rustic bench. Here we sat down, and after a few 
minutes she began. 

You do not know me, of course,' said she. 
Why, no,' I replied; * how should I ?' 
I was afraid you might have recognized my 
voice. But then I have n't spoken much to you, 
have I ? • 

" * No ; but now I do recognize your voice at least. 
It was you who warned me, here at this very spot, 
at the last fete. Was it not ? ' 

** *Yes; I heard the men talking and I was afraid 
they might hurt — might hurt some one. Then you 
came along, and so I told you. I' recognized you 
to-night because you have the same dress.' 

** 1 began to suspect that the ' some one ' whom 
she had shielded that night was not our fair hostess, 



<< < 



28o The Pearls of I sis 

but rather the man who had been with her. I was 
wondering whether it would be wise to ask her this 
question, or whether to wait for her to tell her story 
in her own way, when I was startled at feeling the 
softest of hands pressed tightly over my lips, and to 
hear a whisper close to my ear. 

** * Don't speak,' she said; * they are coming — 
they are coming here. ' 

** I strained my ears and at first heard nothing, 
but love sharpens the ears I suppose, for presently 
I did hear footsteps, and then low voices, growing 
louder as though approaching, and finally the per- 
sons, evidently a man and woman, actually entered 
our place of concealment. The situation was em- 
barrassing, especially as that little hand still rested 
over my mouth as though warning me to do no- 
thing. Luckily, the intruders did not come to our 
side of the place, but took seats apparently opposite. 
They were talking in earnest tones, the woman fin- 
ishing a sentence as they came in. 

** * — my mind, whether to release you or not. 
At all events, I must know more about this some- 
what curious proposition of yours.' 

** I recognized at once the voice of Madame 
Damien. It was evident, therefore, that the man 
was her partner of the dance, and that it was he who 
had been with her in this place on the other oc- 
casion seemed a probability. He answered her as 
follows : 

** * I do not think the proposition is a curious 
one. I only do what women always do. Certainly 



The Pearls of Isis 281 

my sex should have the same privileges in an aflfair 
of this character. ' 

" * That is a question that philosophers might 
discuss,' said Madame Damien, * but we need not. 
Whether you have the right or not it is evident that 
you choose to exercise it. And what is this right ? ' 

** * The right to tell you the truth. The right to 
tell you that I do not love you, that I have made a 
terrible blunder. ' 

** The little hand over my mouth trembled vio- 
lently, and slipped away. I could hear the girl next 
to me breathing so distinctly that it seemed odd 
that the others did not hear also. Perhaps they 
were too much occupied with their own affair. 

" * The right to tell me that you do not love me,' 
repeated Madame ; * but you have so often told me 
that you do love me, and you have told me of your 
love so eloquently, that now when you come to me 
and say that you have made a blunder, naturally I 
have the right to question you. Here are two op- 
posite statements. How am I to know which to 
believe ? ' 

** * I am telling you the truth, now.' 

" * Perhaps; you may be right. You may know 
your heart at last, and if what you say is really true, 
of course I have no desire to try to keep what you 
only supposed to be love, however eloquently you 
told about it, however well you played the part. 
The awkward thing is that to-morrow, next week, 
by the new moon perhaps, you may be at my feet 
again singing the same old songs, old love songs. 



Hi 

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282 The Pearls of I sis 

You will tell me that what you say then is truth, 
but that what you are telling me now is false. 
How, then, shall I know what to think ? ' 

What I tell .you now is true. I shall not tell 
you otherwise at any time in the future.' 
Of this you are quite sure ? ' 
Quite sure ! * 
Up to this point the woman had spoken softly, 
almost with love in her voice. It sounded like a 
mother talking with her son who was confessing a 
change of heart, or rather a change of sweethearts. 
Now, suddenly, all was changed. When she spoke 
again it was in the voice of rage, almost of hate. It 
was the woman spurned; more than that, — it was 
the woman jealous of the rival who had replaced her 
in her lover's heart. 

** * So you are quite sure that you will not make 
love to me again ! ' she cried, with such ferocity 
that the girl beside me moved closer to me as though 
seeking protection; ' you are sure of that ? Then 
you love another. There is no other test by which 
you could be so sure. Answer me, is it true? Is 
it true, I say ? Answer me at once; I want no lies.' 

** * Well, and what if it is true,' said the man, 
angered by her speech. 

*' * What if it is true ? You ask me that ? Well, 
I '11 answer. If it is true, then the other girl is wel- 
come to you. She may have you, with your second- 
hand love. May she be happy in the love that 
changes with the moon. So much for her. But 
with you. Ah, that must be different. You wish 



Hi 



The Pearls of Isis 283 

to be released ? Well, you shall pay for your lib- 
erty, my fickle lover ; you shall pay ! ' 

** ' I will pay you whatever you demand. What 
is it ? ' 

** * So. You value your liberty so much that you 
promise before you know my terms! Very well, 
then. You will bring me to-night, before an hour 
has passed, the string of pearls that your mother 
wore on her wedding-day.* 

My God, no ! Not that ! It is impossible ! * 
How quickly you make and break promises! 
Your ideas of honor are as slim as your notions of 
love. And why is it impossible to give me the 
pearls ? * 

*' ' They are not mine. Anything that is mine I 
will give. But the pearls are not mine.* 

** * If not yours whose are they, pray ? ' 

*' * Let me explain. They have been in my family 
for generations. They were taken from an idol in 
Mexico by one of my ancestors who was with Cor- 
tez. He gave them to his bride, and declared that 
they should descend to the eldest sons for all time, 
to be given as a bridal . present to their wives. 
Moreover he declared that so long as this behest 
was strictly followed, no dishonor should come to 
our house and name. ' 

'* * What you tell me makes me only more de- 
termined to have the pearls. Your ancestor was a 
good prophet. You dishonor your house when you 
oflfer me your love and then withdraw from your 
contract. You asked me to be your wife, and ac- 



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284 The Pearls of Isis 

cording to your ancestor's will the pearls should be 
my bridal decoration. I could claim them in that 
manner, did I choose.' 

What do you mean ? ' 

I mean to have those pearls. No other woman 
shall wear them. If the loss brings dishonor to 
your house, yours is the fault. But I have talked 
long enough. I loathe myself for bartering with 
you. Now I give you my command. Bring me 
those pearls within an hour.' 

** She rose and started to leave the place. The 
man jumped up and called after her: 
What if I should refuse ? ' 
She paused for a moment to reply, and her 
words reminded me of the hiss of a serpent. 

** * If you do not obey, when my guests unmask 
to-night I will announce my engagement, our en- 
gagement, and introduce you as my Romeo.' 

** She laughed mockingly, and hurried away. The 
man did not wait, but went out immediately. I felt 
about for my companion, but she seemed not to be 
near me. I took out a match and struck it, only to 
find myself alone. Seated nearer to the door than 
I, she must have slipped out without my know- 
ledge. ' ' 

** Then you did not learn the secret of your sphinx 
maiden after all," said Mr. Barnes. 

** Not immediately. But hear the sequel. You 
may be sure I was near our hostess when midnight 
arrived and the moment came to unmask. Madame 
Damien herself gave the signal, and then, standing 



< t 



The Pearls of I sis 285 

at the end of the room, she slowly unwound a thread- 
lace scarf which covered her head and face, serving 
in place of a mask, and draped about her shoulders. 
The shawl thrown aside revealed her bare neck, 
around which hung resplendent the pearls in your 
hand. Madame made a sensation with her pearls. 
Though she owned many jewels of rare price she 
often wore them, and her guests were quite familiar 
with her usual display ; but pearls she had never worn 
before. And such pearls ! What wonder there were 
whisperings and guessings ! I looked around for the 
other two actors in the romantic drama, but neither 
Romeo nor my sphinx maiden was to be seen. 

** Refreshments were served in several small 
rooms, and it was from one of these that presently 
a cry was heard that startled all of the guests, so 
that they rushed back into the main ballroom. 
There we found Madame Damien, pale with rage, 
calling for her servants, who rushed from all direc- 
tions. 

*' * I have been robbed,' she cried; * robbed of 
my pearls ! They have been taken from me within 
a minute ! Let no one leave the house ! Close and 
lock the doors! No one shall leave this house, until 
my pearls are restored ! ' 

** Imagine the consternation and indignation which 
this aroused. Madame was so enraged at the loss, 
and so wildly determined to recover the jewels, her 
jealous fear lest her rival might obtain them so 
intense, that she had entirely forgotten all the 
courtesy and duties of a hostess to her guests. All 



286 The Pearls of Isis 

that she knew, all that she cared for, was that the 
person who had robbed her was still in the house, 
and she wished to prevent escape. 

** You may guess the hubbub that followed. 
Women and men congregated in groups asking 
each other what it all meant. Some demanded 
their wraps and the opportunity to leave instantly. 
Others declared that they were quite willing, nay, 
anxious, to await the denouement, which would cer- 
tainly prove interesting. * At least it was well to 
know who of their number might be a thief,' etc. 

** In these circumstances, I undertook to relieve 
the tension and restore tranquillity. I went up to 
Madame Damien, and said to her in a low tone : 

** * If you will let me speak to you alone for two 
minutes I will recover the lost pearls.' 

** * What do you know ? What can you do ? ' she 
asked eagerly. * Come into this room ; we will be 
alone. * 

** I followed her into an anteroom, and we stood 
as we talked. She was laboring under such excite- j 
ment that it was impossible for her to sit quietly. 

** * Tell me first just how the pearls were taken, 
Madame. ' 

** * That is the miserable part of it. » To think 
that a thief could take them from my neck ! It is 
mortifying. All I know is that I was itl one of the 
refreshment-rooms, standing near the window that 
opens into the ballroom. I knew nothing, felt 
nothing, until like a flash they were twitched from 
my neck. I clutched at them, but too late. The 



The Pearls of I sis 287 

thief had stood in the ballroom, and passed her arm 
through the window, till she reached and unlocked 
the clasp .of the necklace. Then with one quick 
tug, she had the pearls. I cried out, and the stupid 
people crowded about me so that it was a whole 
minute, a precious minute, before I could get out 
into the ballroom. It was empty, of course. The 
woman had hurried into one of the small rooms. 
But she has not left the house and she shall not, 
until the pearls are in my possession again.* 

" * You allude to the thief as a woman. How did 
you discover that, since from your account you 
could hardly have seen her ? ' 

" ' No; I saw no one. But I know it was a 
woman. Never mind how I know. What, though, 
if it were — no ! no ! Impossible. He is not here ; 
besides, he would not dare. ' 

** Of course I understood that she referred to 
our friend Romeo, and I might also have thought 
of him, had I not made sure that he was not present 
after the unmasking. 

" * If you did not see the thief, you cannot be sure 
it was a woman,' I continued. ' Now, Madame, I 
have a proposal to make. I will purchase your pearls.' 

" * You^will do nothing of the sort, Mr. Mitchel. 
You got my ruby, but you will not get the pearls. 
Besides, I Hhave not them to deliver, even if I were 
willing to sell them to you.' 

** * That is the attractive feature of my proposition. 
I will pay for the pearls, their full value, and I will 
undertake to recover them.* 



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I < < 



288 The Pearls of Isis 

** * But I tell you I won't sell them. And besides, 
how could you recover them ? ' 

** * I will tell you nothing in advance, except that 
I guarantee to recover them, and that, I imagine, is 
the main object with you.* 

** * What do you mean ? You talk in riddles.' 

'* * Listen. I will make my purpose clear to you. 

You obtained those pearls to-night, and * 

How do you know that ? * 
And you obtained them for a purpose,' I went 
on, ignoring her interruption. * You made a man 
give them to you, because you were determined that 
another woman should not have them.' 

'* * You are a magician,' she cried in wonder. 

'* * You are angry at the loss of the pearls, not so 
much because of their value, as because you fear 
they may be restored to that other woman. You 
even think that she herself is the thief.* 

** * You are right; I do think that. What other 
woman would do such a thing as to steal a string of 
pearls from a woman's very person ? ' 

*' ' What if I tell you that she is not in the 
house ? ' 

" ' Ah, then you know her ? Who is she ? Tell 
me who she is and you may have the pearls.' Ma- 
dame spoke eagerly. 

** * I will only tell you enough to convince you 
that she is not the thief. You remember after one 
of the quadrilles passing a girl and saying, ** That 
girl is a sphinx " ? * 

Yes ; was she ' 



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The Pearls of I sis 289 



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Yes. Now if you search your rooms you will 
not find her. I know this because I have looked for 
her for half an hour.* 

" * If not she, then the thief was some emissary 
of hers. Those pearls shall never reach her. Never ! 
never! never! I Ul search every person in this 
house first.' 

*' ' And accomplish what ? Nothing, except to 
ruin yourself before the world. Remember, your 
guests have rights. Already you have insulted 
them by having the doors locked. Come, we are 
wasting time. Sell me the pearls, and Lwill promise 
you two things. First, I will satisfy your guests and 
restore you to their good opinion. Secondly, I will 
recover and keep those pearls. Your rival shall 
never wear them.' 
My rival ? ' 

Your rival. Why mince matters ? Is it not 
evident to you that I know all the details of this 
aflfair ? ' 

** * You are a devil! Have your own way then. 
Take the pearls at your own price, and pay for them 
when you like. All I demand is that you fulfil 
your agreement. She must not have them. Good 
night. I cannot meet my guests again. Explain 
things for me, will you ? * 

** She was nothing but a woman again — a con- 
quered woman, relying upon the chivalry of her 
conqueror. 

'* * Trust me,' I replied. * Lean on me and I will 
escort you to the stairway. * 

»9 



< < < 



290 The Pearls of Isis 

" All eyes followed us as we crossed the ballroom, 
and Madame looked ill enough to evoke pity. At 
any rate, my explanfition was accepted generously, 
and Madame was forgiven/* 

** I am curious to know," said Mr. Barnes, ** how 
you recovered or expected to recover those pearls ? " 

** It certainly was a unique bargain, to purchase 
stolen property while yet in the possession of the 
thief. I will tell you what I did. After leaving 
Madame in the care of her maids at the foot of the 
stairway, I returned to the ballroom, and made a 
little speech. Addressing the throng that crowded 
about me, I said : 

** * Friends, I beg that you will forgive Madame 
Damien's hasty words. She was overwrought, and 
spoke irresponsibly. She had just met with a serious 
loss under most peculiar circumstances. Imagine her 
standing at the refreshment table, while one of her 
guests intrudes an arm through the window behind 
her, unclasps and removes from her neck a string of 
pearls worth a fabulous sum of money. Naturally 
her first thought was to recover the pearls, and to 
her distracted mind the only way seemed to be to 
demand that no one should leave the house. Of 
course she now regrets her words, for no loss can 
excuse such treatment of guests. But I am sure 
you will forgive her, especially the ladies, who will 
appreciate her feelings. Now, in regard to the pearls 
I may state that I have undertaken to recover them. 
Fortunately I witnessed the theft, though from a 
distance, so that I could not prevent it. But I know 



' The Pearls of I sis 291 

who took the pearls, and who has them. Conse- 
quently it is unnecessary to cause anyone any further 
annoyance in the matter. To the thief, I will say 
that I understand the motive of the theft, and that 
I am in a position to promise that that motive can 
be consummated if the pearls are returned to me 
within three days. If they are not returned, it will 
be necessary to have the person arrested and im- 
prisoned.' ** 

** A bold stroke, and ingenious too," exclaimed 
Mr. Barnes. ** The thief, of course, could not know 
whether you saw the act or not, and if a person of 
high social position it would be too great a risk not 
to return the pearls." 

" So I argued. Of course, had it been a man, he 
might have taken even that risk, believing that my 
threat was a * bluff,' as we say in poker. But a 
woman — a woman would not take such a risk, espe- 
cially as I promised that her purpose could still be 
fulfilled." 

** Now it is my turn to be mystified. Did you 
not say that your sphinx maiden was absent ? Who 
else could steal the pearls ? What other woman, I 
mean ? " 

** Why, no other woman, of course. Therefore it 
followed that my little mysterious maiden must have 
been present, which merely means that as soon as 
she found that Madame would insist upon having 
the pearls, she boldly plotted to recover them. 
Her first move was to rush -off and change her cos- 
tume. You see, I was the one she most feared. 



292 The Pearls of Isis 

Others might know her face, but they would not 
know her reasons for committing such an act. I 
could do that but I could recogjnize her by her cos- 
tume only. Thus I was sure that she was still in 
the house, though diflferently attired." 

'* How did your plan result ? " 

** Of course she brought me the pearls, though 
not until the third day. She delayed action as long 
as she dared. Then she came to me openly and 
confessed everything. It was really a pitiful tale. 
She was an orphan, living with an aged aunt. She 
met the young man, and at once they loved. After 
a time she began to suspect that he was not abso- 
lutely true to her, and she followed him to the first 
masquerade to spy upon him. She overheard 
enough that night to make her believe that the 
young man was making a dupe of her. Then she 
also heard the men plotting the robbery, and feared 
that he might be hurt. Seeing me she told me 
enough to prevent that. Then she went home, and 
brooded over her sorrow until she decided to go into 
a convent. Then came the second fete, and the 
temptation once more to watch her fickle swain. 
This time what she heard brought her happiness, 
for did he not give up the other woman for her ? 
Did he not even yield up his greatest family treasure, 
the pearls ? 

** She decided to recover the pearls, and she had 
the courage to carry out her purpose. When com- 
pelled through fear of arrest to bring them to me, 
she was delighted to know that they would not be 



The Pearls of Isis 293 

restored to Madame Damien. It was when I told 
her this, that she drew from her bosom the pink 
pearl which is now in the centre of the string, but 
which does not belong to the set as they came from 
the brow of the idol. 

** * There is a story,* said she, * that these pearls 
each represent the price of a maiden's honor; the 
price of withdrawing from the service of God's 
temple. So I will add this pearl to the string, for I 
had promised to devote myself to God's work, and 
now I am going to my lover. This pearl was worn 
by my mother, and it is said that her mother also 
wore it, and that her blood stained it the color that 
it is. Her stupid husband, my grandfather, doubted 
her wrongfully and stabbed her with a dagger, so 
that she died. I think the pearl is worthy of a place 
among the others. ' 

** I took the pink pearl, agreeing with her that it 
might better be with the others. Then, as she 
turned to go, I asked her : 

'* * Why did you choose the costume of the Sphinx 
for the ball ? ' 

" Her reply astonished me, as it will you. She 
said: 

** * Why, I did not represent the Sphinx. I was 
dressed as Isis.' 

" A strange coincidence, was it not ? " 



IX 



A PROMISSORY NOTE 

Mr. Mitchel walked into the office of Mr. Barnes 
one afternoon as the clock struck two. 

" Here I am, Mr. Barnes," said he. " Your note 
asked me to be here at two, sharp. If your clock is 
right, I have answered your summons to the second. ' ' 

** You are punctuality itself, Mr. Mitchel. Sit 
down. I am in a good humor. I flatter myself 
that I have done a clever thing, and we are going to 
celebrate. See, there is a cold bottle, and a couple 
of glasses waiting your arrival. * ' 

** You have done something clever, you say ? 
Some bright detective work, I suppose. And you 
did not honor me this time by consulting me ? " 

" Oh, well," said the detective, apologetically, 
** I should not be always bothering you with my 
affairs. It 's business with me, and only amusement 
with you. When I have a matter of grave import- 
ance I like to have your assistance, of course. But 
this case, though interesting, very interesting, in 
fact, was really quite simple." 
And you have solved it ? " 
Oh, yes ; it is completed. Wound it up at noon 
to-day; ended happily, too. Let me fill your glass, 
and I *11 tell you all about it." 

294 






A Promissory Note 295 

** We will drink to your success. * All 's well that 
ends well/ you know, and this case you say is 
ended?" 

" Oh, yes; the tale is complete down to the word 
' finis. * Let me see, where shall I begin ? * ' 

** Why, at the beginning, of course. Where 
else?" 

'* Sounds like a reasonable suggestion, yet it is 
not always so easy to tell just where a story does 
begin. I often wonder how the romance writers get 
their stories started. Does a love story, for example, 
begin with the birth of the lovers, with their meeting, 
with their love-making, or with their marriage ? " 

" I am afraid that love stories too often end with 
the marriage. If yours is a love story, perhaps you 
may as well begin with the meeting of the lovers. 
We will take it for granted that they were born." 

' * So be it. I will transpose events slightly. Here 
is a document which was forwarded to me by mail, 
and evidently the sender expected me to receive it 
before the visit of a man who intended to consult 
me in a serious case. Oddly enough, the man called 
before the package reached me. Thus I had his 
story soonest ; but perhaps it will be better for you 
to read this first, after which you will better com- 
prehend the purpose of my client." 

Mr. Mitchel took the type-written pages and read 
as follows : 



<< 



My dear Mr. Barnes :— 

** Within a few hours after reading this statement 



296 A Promissory Note 

you will receive a visit from a man who will intro- 
duce himself as William Odell, which is not his true 
name, a circumstance which, however, is of no con- 
sequence. He will ask you to interpose your re- 
puted skill to save him from fate. I am ready to 
admit that you have great skill and experience, but 
it will be utterly useless for you to interfere in this 
matter, for, as I have said, the man is seeking to 
escape from a doom which is his fate. Who ever 
altered what was fated to be ? We may philosophize 
a little and ask what it is that we mean, when we 

r 

j speak of * fate * ? My view is that fate, so called by 
jmen, is naught but the logical and necessary effect 
'■of a cause. Thus if the cause exists, the effect must 
follow. So it is with this man, whom we will call 
Odell. The cause exists, has existed for a number 
of years. The time for the effect is now approach- 
ing; he knows this; he knows that it is fate, — 
that he cannot escape. Yet, with the hope of a 
hopeless man, in his last extremity he will ask you 
to turn aside, or at least to defer, this fate. This 
you cannot do, and that you may understand the 
utter futility of wasting your time, which I presume 
is valuable, I send you this statement of the facts. 
Thus comprehending the incidents precedent to the 
present situation, you will appreciate the inevitable 
nature of the occurrence which this miserable man 
seeks with your aid to set aside." 

" I thought you said this was a simple case, Mr. 
Barnes," said Mr. Mitchel, interrupting his reading. 



A Promissory Note 297 

•* I found it so,'* replied Mr. Barnes, sipping his 



wine. 



< « 



i i 



The writer says that the * occurrence * was * in- 
evitable, ' yet am I to understand that you prevented 
it?" 

" He thought it to be inevitable. I disagreed with 
him, and prevented it." 

I hope you have not been over-confident." 
There is no danger. Did I not tell you that the 
affair ended ? " 

'* So you did. I forgot that. This paper is en- 
tertaining. I will read on." 

The statement went on as follows : 

" I was born and reared and spent all my life in 
Texas. In fact, you may consider me a cowboy, 
though it is long since I have thrown a lariat, and 
one would hardly count me a boy now. What a life 
do we lead down there on the Texas plains ! Miles 
and miles of country stretching in easy undulations 
from the rising-place to the set of the sun. Day 
after day in the saddle, till one imagines himself a 
part of the animal which he bestrides. How often 
in play have I dropped a red bandana, and then 
picked it from the grass as I galloped my horse by 
at top speed ! 

*' One day I was riding along, free from all worldly 
care, happy, contented. My horse was going easily, 
though we had several miles yet to cover. Glancing 
carelessly ahead, neither seeking nor expecting ad- 
venture of any kind, I thought I saw, a hundred 



298 A Promissory Note 

yards or more ahead of me, the bright red of a hand- 
kerchief in the grass. A bandana dropped by a 
cowboy perhaps. With nothing better to do, I 
touched my horse's flank, and with instant response 
his head was down and we charged the spot. Lean- 
ing so low on one side that I could have touched 
the ground easily with my hand, we rapidly neared 
that bit of color, and I was almost upon it before I 
realized that it was something more than a lost 
handkerchief, — that it was really a bundle of some 
sort. Yet in time I noted this, and therefore ex- 
erted enough strength when I clutched it to lift it 
firmly f^^^^n the ground, though the weight of it as- 
tonished me. Swinging myself back upon my horse, 
I brought him to a walk, that I might better examine 
my prize. Imagine my feelings when I found that the 
little bundle contained a thing of life — a baby girl ! 
" There is no need to extend this part of my tale. 
How the child got there I never learned. Whether 
it was dropped from a wagon travelling along the 
V trail, or deposited there purposely by one of those 
!: fiends who accept the pleasures of life and shirk its 
.j responsibilities, I do not know. Indeed, at the time 
* I took but a passing interest in the affair. I had 
picked up a baby on the plains. What of it ? How 
could a cowboy like myself be expected to evince 
any great interest in a baby ? My father was rich, 
and I had always been indulged in all things, though 
always held rigidly by what I was taught to consider 
the rules of honor. I had had a taste of the big 
world too, for I had been first at a military academy, 



A Promissory Note 299 

and afterwards had graduated from Harvard. Then 
I had gone back to Texas, back to the life on horse- 
back in the open air, the life that I loved best. So 
you can understand that women and babies had not 
yet come into my mind as necessary adjuncts to life. 
'* The child was given into the care of the very 
negro mammy who had practically reared me, my 
mother having died when I was yet a boy. Thus 
it was not until Juanita — I forget how she got the 
name, but so she was called — was twelve, that I 
began to feel some personal responsibility in relation 
to her future. My father meantime had died, and 
I was master of the old home, the ranch ar -^ all the 
stock. Thus there was no lack of money to carry 
out whatever plan might seem best. I took counsel 
with some women of our town, and the end of it 
was that Juanita was sent as far north as Atlanta to 
boarding-school. Here she remained until she was 
sixteen, but she never really enjoyed herself. A 
child of the plains almost literally, one might say, 
living through her earlier girlhood with little if any 
restraint, the duties of the school-room were irksome 
to her, and she longed to be back in Texas. This 
yearning grew upon her so that at length she began 
to make references to her feelings in her letters. I had 
missed her from about the place more than I should 
have imagined possible, and the strong inclination 
was to grant her wishes and bring her back ; but I 
knew the value of education, and felt in duty bound 
to urge her continuance of her studies. When first 
she went, it had been arranged that she should re- 



3CXD A Promissory Note 

main in Atlanta studying for eight years, but finally 
I offered as a compromise that she might come home 
at the end of six, at which time she would have been 
eighteen. You may guess my surprise when one 
morning on my return from a long ride after the I 
cattle, I saw a horse dashing swiftly towards me, t 
and when close enough, recognized Juanita on his 
back. Breathless she pulled up beside me, and be- 
fore I could speak cried out : 

" * Now don't say you are going to send me back. 
Don't say it! Don't! Don't! Don't! It would 
break my heart ! ' 

" What could I do ? There she was, exuberant 
in her happiness, all the wild energy of her animal 
spirits aroused by the exhilaration of that liberty for 
which she had so long yearned. Of course I thought 
a good deal, but I said nothing. 

" * Watch me! ' she exclaimed. * I have n't for- 
gotten how to ride. See ! ' 

** Like a flash she was off towards a clump of 
bushes fifty yards away. I called after her, fearing 
that four years of school life would have left her less 
of a horsewoman than she imagined. But she only 
laughed, and when near the hedge raised her horse 
with the skill of an adept and cleared it by a foot. 

*' During the next two years the whole tenor of 
my life was changed. Juanita went with me every- 
where. Like myself she lived in the saddle, and 
soon she could throw a lariat or round up a herd of 
cattle as well as almost any of my men. 

*' What wonder that I learned to love the girl? 



A Promissory Note 301 

Philosophers tell us that two may meet, exchange 
glances, and love. Madness! That is admiration, 
magnetic attraction, passionate desire, — what you 
please, — it is not love. Love may spring from such 
beginning, but not in an instant, a day, an hour. 
Too many have been wrecked by that delusion, 
wedding while intoxicated with this momentary de- 
lirium, and awaking later to a realization of a dread 
future. For what can be worse misery than to be 
married and not mated ? No, love thrives on what 
it feeds on. Daily companionship, hourly contact 
breeds a habit in a man's life, creates a need that 
can but be filled by the presence of the one who 
excites such heart longings. Thus we learn to love 
our horse or dog, and the possession of the animal 
satisfies us. So when we come to love a woman, to 
love her with that love which once born never dies, 
so, too, possession is the only salve, the only solu- 
tion. After two years I realized this, and began-to 
think of marrying my little one. * Why not ? ' I 
asked myself. True, I was forty, while she was but 
eighteen. But I was young in heart, energy, and 
vitality. And who had a greater right to possess 
her than myself ? None. Then a dreadful thought 
came to me. What if she did not love me in return ? 
My heart turned cold, but I never dreamed of coer- 
cing her. I would tell her my wish, my hope, and 
as she should answer so should it be. 

** This was my determination. You will admit 
that I was honorable. Having formed my conclu- 
sion I sought a favorable moment for its execution. 



302 A Promissory Note 

At this you may wonder. Were we not together 
daily, riding side by side, often alone with God and 
Nature for hours together ? True ! But I dreaded 
a mistake. Should I speak when her heart was not 
ready, the answer might blight my life. 

" So I waited day after day, no moment seeming 
more propitious than another. Yet when I did 
speak, it was all so simple, that I wondered at my- 
self for my long anxiety. We had been riding 
together for three or four hours, when, reaching a 
shaded knoll in which I knew there was a cold spring 
where we might refresh ourselves and our horses, we 
stopped. As she jumped from her horse, Juanita 
stood a moment looking back and forth across the 
plains, and then, in full enjoyment of the scene, she 
exclaimed : 

" * Is n't it all grand! I could live here forever! ' 

** My heart leaped, and my tongue moved un- 
bidden : 

With me ? ' I cried. * With me, Juanita ? ' 
Why, yes ; with you, of course. With whom 
else ? ' 

*' She turned and gazed into my eyes frankly, 
wondering at my question, and my hand burned as 
with a fever as I took hers in mine, and almost whis- 
pered : 

** * But with me, little one, as my own ? As my 
very own? As my little wife, I mean ? ' 

** A dainty blush beautified her cheek, but she 
did not turn away her eyes as she answered : 

Why, yes. As your wife, of course. I have 



Hi 



it i 



A Promissory Note 303 

always thought you meant it should be. Always 
lately, I mean.' 

*' So she had understood before I had known my- 
self. She had been simply waiting, while I had 
been worrying. I had but to reach forth my hand 
and grasp my happiness. Well, I had been an ass 
not to know, but at last the joy was mine. 

** Be sure there was little further delay. The 
wedding was simple yet impressive. Cowboys came 
from miles around, and one and all they kissed the 
bride. We had a feast on the grass, the tables ex- 
tending a quarter of a mile, and all were welcome. 
There were no cards of invitation ; all within fifty 
miles were my neighbors, and all neighbors were 
expected at the cowboy's wedding. The ceremony 
was held out in the open air, and five hundred men 
stood with bared heads as the worthy father gave 
me my treasure and declared her mine before God 
and them. 

* * Thus Juanita came to be mine own. First given 
to me by that Providence who rules the Universe, 
when the unguided steps of my horse carried me to 
the tiny bundle lying on a boundless plain, and lastly 
given to me with her own consent by the worthy 
man who united us in the name of the Father of us 
all. Was she not mine then, and thenceforward 
forever ? Could any man rightly take her from me ? 
You shall hear. 

" A year passed. A year of happiness such as 
poets prate of and ardent men and maids hope for, 
but rarely realize. Then the serpent entered my 



304 A Promissory Note 

Eden. The tempter came, in the form of this man 
who tells you that his name is Odell, but who lies 
when he tells you so. He was from the North, and 
he had a fine form and a fair face. Fair, I mean, in 
the sense that it was attractive to women. He soon 
had the few young women of our neighborhood ' 
dangling after him, like captured fish on a blade of 
palmetto. I saw all this, and, seeing, had no sus- 
picion that with the chance to choose from so many 
who were still unclaimed, he would seek to win my 
own dear one. 

** I cannot dwell on this. Indeed, I never knew 
the details, only the finale. The blow came as un- 
suspected as might an earthquake in a land where 
tranquillity had reigned for centuries. I had been 
away all day, and for once my wife had not ridden 
with me. I had myself bidden her remain at home, 
because of the intense heat of an August sun. She 
had begged to go with me, perhaps fearing to be 
left alone. But I knew nothing, suspected nothing 
of the ache and terror in her heart. When I got 
back, it was already dark, and having been away 
from Juanita all day, I called for her at once. The 
empty echoes of my voice coming back as the only 
answer to my cry struck my heart with a chill, and 
a nameless, hideous dread seized me. Had anything 
happened ? Was she ill, or dead ? Dead it must 
be, I thought, or she would have answered. I 
wandered through the house ; I searched the whole 
place ; I sprang back upon my horse and rode from 
house to house throughout that whole awful night. 



A Promissory Note 305 

I discovered nothing. No one could tell me aught. 
At daybreak I returned fagged out, with a vague 
hope that perhaps I had made some blunder and 
that she was still at home. At last, in the room 
where I kept my accounts and transacted business, 
I found a note upon my desk which explained the 
horrible truth. Here is a copy of it. Note the 
hideous braggadocio. It read : 

'* ' I. O. U. One wife. (Signed) L R .' 

" That you may fully appreciate how this taunt 
stung, I must remind you that, as I have said, my 
father had taught me to follow most rigidly the rules 
of honor. In transactions involving even very great 
sums of money, it was not uncommon amongst us 
cattlemen to acknowledge an indebtedness in this 
primitive, informal way, — simply writing upon a slip 
'of paper, perhaps torn from the edge of a newspaper, 
' I. O. U.', giving the amount, and adding the signa- 
ture. No dates were really necessary, though some- 
times added, because the possession of the paper 
proved the debt, the cancellation by payment always 
leading to the destruction of the I. O. U. 

" Thus this heartless young brute from the North 
had not only stolen from me my chief treasure, 
but he had left behind an acknowledgment of his 
debt in that form which was most binding among us. 

*' Does it cause you surprise to have me say that 
I carefully preserved that bit of paper, and swore to 
make him meet the obligation when the day of 
reckoning might come ? This explains to you that 
cause, which at the outset I said brings with it a 

ao 



3o6 A Promissory Note 

result which now is, and always has been, inevitable. 

'* Of course it is certain that had I been able to 
find my betrayer while my anger still raged, and my 
anguish yet at its most acute point, I would simply 
have shot the man on sight, recklessly, thought- 
lessly. But I could not get trace of him, and so had 
time to think. 

** Too late I learned that I had made one dreadful 
error. I have told you my views of love, how en- 
gendered and how nourished. My mistake was in 
thinking that such a love is the necessary rather 
than merely the possible result of constant com- 
panionship between congenial spirits. In my own 
heart the fire of true love burned only too brightly, 
but with Juanita, poor child, it was but the glow 
reflected from my own inward fires that warmed her 
heart. She was happy with me, sharing my life, 
and when I asked her to marry me, mistook her 
calm friendship for what she had heard called love. 
Love she had never experienced. When later the 
younger man devoted himself to her, she was prob- 
ably first merely intoxicated by an overpowering 
animal magnetism, which was nothing but passion. 
But even as I have admitted that this impulsive de- 
sire may drift into the truer, nobler quality of love, 
so, later, I found, must have been the case with my 
cherished one. 

** A full year passed before I had the least idea of 
the whereabouts of the elopers. Then one day the 
mail brought me a brief, plaintive note from her. 
All she wrote was, ' Dear one, forgive me. Juanita,/ 



A Promissory Note 307 

The date showed that it had been written on the 
anniversary of our wedding, and from this I knew 
that the day had brought to her remorseful memories 
of me. But the envelope bore a postmark, and I 
knew at last that they were in a suburb of the great 
metropolis. 

* * I started for New York that very night, bent on 
vengeance. But one approaches a revengeful deed 
in a different spirit a year after the infliction of tfie 
wrong, and so by the time I reached my destination, 
my mind had attained a judicial attitude, and my 
purpose was tempered by the evident wisdom of in- 
vestigating before acting. I had little difficulty in 
finding the nest to which my bird had flown, and a 
happy nest it appeared to be. It seems like yester- 
day, and the picture is distinct before my vision. I 
came cautiously towards the cottage, which was sur- 
rounded by a grassy lawn, and my heart came into 
my throat with a choking sensation as suddenly I 
saw her there, my little Juanita, lazily swinging in a 
hammock under a great elm, singing! Singing so 
merrily that I could not doubt that she was, for the 
moment at least, happy. So, then, she was happy — 
happy with him. The thought affected me in a two- 
fold manner. I resented her happiness for myself, 
and gloried in it for her own sake. I did not ven- 
ture to interrupt her life by intruding myself into it. 
I quietly prosecuted my inquiries, and learned that 
she was known as his wife, indeed that a regular 
marriage had taken place. Thus at least he gave 
her the apparent protection of his name. Moreover, 



3o8 A Promissory Note 

I found that he was still kind to her, and that the 
two were counted a happy couple. 

" Therefore I returned to Texas, and never again 
set eyes upon my dear one, in life. But before 
leaving I perfected arrangements whereby I might 
receive regular communications, and so be in the 
position to know how it fared with Juanita, and I 
am bound to admit that the reports were ever favor- 
able. So far as I know, he always treated her with 
loving kindness. In exchange for this, he must 
count that he has been left undisturbed by me. On 
that score, then, we are quits. But the paper on 
which he wrote that infamous I. O. U. remained, 
and so long as it was in my possession it was an 
obligation still to be met. 

" Five years elapsed, and then one day suddenly 
I was summoned by telegraph. Juanita was ill — 
was likely to die. I sped North as fast as the 
swiftest express train could travel, but I arrived 
three hours after her sweet spirit had flown. He 
did not recognize me as I mingled with the crowd 
in the house at the funeral, and so got a last glimpse 
of her face. But after the grave was filled, and the 
little mound was covered with flowers, the mound 
which held all that had stood between him and fate, 
I stepped forward and stood where his eyes must 
meet mine. 

** At first he did not recognize me, but presently 
he knew me, and the abject terror that came into 
his face brought to me the first sensation of pleasure 
that I had experienced since that hour in which I 



A Promissory Note 309 

had found my home deserted. I stepped back into 
the crowd, and I saw him look about eagerly, and 
pass his hand across his eyes, as though brushing 
aside some horrible vision. But he was soon to 
learn that it was no spectral fancy, but myself with 
whom he had to deal. 

** I waited till nightfall and then sought him at his 
house, and told him my purpose. I showed him 

• that bit of paper on which he had scrawled the 
words * I. O. U. One wife,' and I told him that in 
exacting a settlement we would change the letter 
* w ' to the letter * 1. * That for my wife, I would 
expect his life, in return. I gave him a respite of a 
few days, but this he will explain to you. I know 
this, for twice have I seen him approach your offices, 
and then alter his mind and depart without going 
in. But his fate is now so near that by to-morrow, 
at the latest, he will no longer have the courage to 
delay. He will go to you. He will lie to you. He 

' will endeavor to obtain your aid. Fool ! Of what 
avail ? He cannot escape even if you undertake to 
assist him. But after reading the truth, as here 
written, will you ? '* 

Mr. Mitchel put down the last page of the state- 
ment, and, turning to Mr. Barnes, he said : 

** And you say you have thwarted this man's 
purpose ? " 

** Yes; absolutely. Of course, that tale of his 
makes me sympathize with him, but the law does 
not grant a man the right to murder even when a 



3IO A Promissory Note 

wife is stolen. Certainly not after the lapse of five 
years." 

" I should think that the author of that document 
would be a man who would carefully plan what- 
ever scheme he might have decided upon, and 
if you have really thwarted him, then you have 
been very clever. Very clever, indeed. How was 
it ?" 

** To explain that," replied Mr. Barnes, " I must 
begin by telling you of the visit of this man who 
calls himself Odell. You will note that the Texan 
says that his adversary * will explain,' etc. Thus 
he evidently intended his communication to reach 
me before the visit of my client. But it was other- 
wise. Mr. Odell, as we must call him, came here 
two days ago, whereas that communication did not 
reach me until yesterday morning." 

** Did this man Odell tell you the same story as 
that sent to you by the Texan ? " 

** Essentially the same, yet differing materially in 
some of the details. He came into my office in a 
very nervous, excited frame of mind, and'even after 
I had asked him to be seated and to state his busi- 
ness he seemed half inclined to go away. However, 
he finally concluded to confide his trouble to me, 
though he began the conversation in a singular 
manner. 

" * I hardly know,* said he, * whether you can 
help me or not. Your business is to detect crimes 
after they have been committed, is it not ? ' 
It is,* said I. 



ttt 



A Promissory Note 311 



«c < 



I wonder,* said he, * whether you could pre- 
vent a crime ? * 

** * That would depend much upon the circum- 
stances and the nature of the crime.' 

** * Let us say that a murder was contemplated. 
Do you think you might be able to prevent it ? * 

* * * Do you know who is threatened ? Who is the 
person to be murdered ? ' 

" ' Myself.' 

** * Yourself ? Tell me the circumstances which 
lead you to believe that such a danger threatens 
you.* 

" * The circumstances are peculiar. I suppose I 
must tell you the whole miserable story. Well, so 
be it. Some years ago I went into one of the 
southern states, it matters not which, and there I 
met a young girl with whom I fell madly in love. 
There is nothing out of the common about the story 
except as regards her guardian. I suppose that is 
what he would be called. This man was quite a 
wealthy ranchman, and it seems that he had found 
the girl when an infant, on the open plains. He 
took her home, and raised her. Of course he grew 
fond of her, but the fool forgot that he was twenty 
years older than herself and fell in love with her. 
Consequently I knew that it would be useless to ask 
his consent to our marriage, so we eloped.' " 

** That is a different version,*' interrupted Mr. 
Mitchel. 

'* Very different," said Mr. Barnes. " But when 
I heard it, it was the only version known to me. I 



312 A Promissory Note 

asked him how long a time had passed since the 
elopement, and he replied : 

** * Five years. I married the girl of course, and 
, we have been living until recently up the Hudson. 
A month ago she died, and in grief I followed her 
body to the grave. The last sod had just been 
placed on the mound, when looking up I saw the 
man, the guardian, let us call him, standing glaring 
at me in a threatening manner. I was startled, and 
as a moment later he seemingly disappeared, I was 
inclined to believe that it had been merely a trick 
of the mind. This seemed not improbable, for if the 
man harbored any ill-will, why had he not sought 
me out before ? ' 

" * Perhaps he did not know where to find you,' I 
suggested. 

** * Yes, he did. I know that, because my wife 
told me that she wrote to him once. But it was 
not imagination, for that same night he came to my 
house, and coolly informed me that now that the 
girl was dead, there was nothing to delay longer his 
purpose to take my life.* 

" * He told you this openly ? * 

" * He made the announcement as calmly as 
though he were talking of slaying one of his steers, 
I don't know why, for I am not a coward, but a 
terrible fear seized me. I seemed to realize that it 
would be useless for me to make any resistance; 
whether he chose to take my life at that moment or 
later, it seemed to me that I could and would make 
no effort to save myself. In fact, I imagine I felt 



A Promissory Note 313 

like a man in a trance, or it might be in a dream- 
disturbed sleep wherein, while passing through 
dreadful experiences, and wishing that some one 
might arouse me, yet I myself was powerless to 
awaken. ' 

** * Perhaps the man had hypnotized you.* 

" ' Oh, no. I don't make any such nonsensical 
claim as that. I was simply terrified, that is all, — I 
who have never known fear before. Worse than all, 
I have not for an instant since been able to escape 
from my feeling of helpless terror. He talked to 
me in the quietest tone of voice. He told me that 
he had known of my whereabouts all the time, and 
that he had spared me just so long as the girl was 
happy ; that so long as her happiness depended upon 
my living, jtist so long had he permitted me to live. 
Throughout the interview he spoke of my life as 
though it belonged to him ; just as though, as I said 
before, I might have been one of his cattle. It was 
awful. ' 

" * Did he say when or how he would murder 
you ? ' 

" * He did worse than that. He did the most 
diabolical thing that the mind of man could con- 
ceive. He explained to me that he considered me 
in his debt, and that the debt could only be cancelled 
with my life. And then he had the horrible audac- 
ity to ask me to give him a written acknowledgment 
to that effect. * 

** * How ? I do not understand.* 

** * He drew out a large sheet of paper on which 



tit 
< « < 



< < < 



tt t 



314 A Promissory Note 

were some written words, and handed me the paper 
to read. This is what I saw: ** On or before the 
thirtieth day from this date I promise to pay my 
debt to the holder of this paper. * ' ' 

How very extraordinary ! ' 

Extraordinary! Nothing like this has ever 
occurred in all the world. The man asked me prac- 
tically to give him a thirty-day note to be paid with 
my life. Worse than that, I gave it to him. * 

You gave it to him ! What da you mean ? * 

At his dictation I copied those words on a 
similar sheet that he furnished, and I signed the 
hellish document. Don't ask me why I did it. I 
don't know, unless in my terror and despair I 
thought at the moment only of getting rid of my 
visitor, and of gaining even the short respite that 
here seemed held out to me. At all events I wrote 
the thing, and he folded it carefully and put it in 
his pocket with a satanic smile. Then he rose to 
go, but further explained to me that as the note 
said * * on or before * * thirty days, he would feel at 
liberty to conclude the matter at his own pleasure. 
This doubled the horror of the situation. What he 
said next, however, seemed to offer a ray of hope, 
if hope might be sought under such circumstances. 
He told me that if I could by any means manage to 
live beyond the limitations of the note, he would 
return the paper to me to be burned, and in that 
case I might consider the matter terminated.* 

Why, then, he did give you one chance of 
living. ' 



A Promissory Note 315 



<< < 



I have tried to make myself think so. But as 
I have thought it over, sometimes I imagine that 
there is merely an added deviltry in this, — that he 
held out this hope only to intensify my sufferings; 
for total despair might have led me to suicide, thus 
shortening the period of my mental agony. If this 
was his purpose, he succeeded only too well. A 
dozen times I have been on the verge of blowing 
my brains out to abbreviate the torture, when the 
thought has come to me that as another day had 
passed finding me still alive, so might the remaining 
ones ; that I might escape after all. So I have lived 
and entered another day of torment. * 

** * But why have you allowed this aflFair to so prey 
upon your mind ? * 

** * Allowed it ? How could I have escaped from 
it ? You do not know the expedients of that fiend. 
I will tell you a few of the things that have made it 
impossible for me to forget. In the first place, 
every morning I have received a postal-card on 
which would appear some figures, — ** 30 minus i 
equals 29," — ** 30 minus 2 equals 2S/* — " 30 minus 
3 equals 27,'' and so cm. Can you imagine my feel- 
ings this morning when the card was placed in my 
hand on which I found '* 30 minus 28 equals 2 *' ? ' 

* * * But why have you read these cards ? * 

" ' Why ? Why does the bird go to the snake 
that devours it ? The cards have exerted a fascina- 
tion for me. In my mail I would look first to see if 
one were there. Finding it, I would read it over 
and over, though of course I would know in advance 



3i6 A Promissory Note 

the ghoulish calculation that would be there. But 
this is not all. On the third day I was about to 
smoke a cigar, when its peculiar shape attracted my 
attention. I looked at it a long time stupidly, and 
then broke it in half. Inside I found a slender 
metal tube, which later I discovered was filled with 
some horribly explosive preparation. I do not 
think that any other cig^ of that nature has reached 
me. But, my suspicions once aroused, I began 
opening my cigars, to make sure, and in this man- 
ner, of course, they were rendered useless. Why, I 
have been suspicious even of cigars offered to me by 
some of my best friends. The more cordial the 
presentation, the more certain I have felt that the 
man might be in the plot against me. So I have 
been obliged to forego smoking, a great trial, as you 
may imagine, in such a condition of mind as I have 
been in, when a sedative would have been so accept- 
able.' 

** * You might have used cigarettes,' suggested the 
detective. 

" * Cigarettes ? It seemed so at first. Of course 
not those ready-made, but I might make them for 
myself. I made one. Just one ! I rolled it, using 
paper and tobacco that had been in my own room 
for over a month. When I applied a match the 
thing sizzled like a firecracker. Whether or not 
some powder had been dropped into my tobacco, I 
do not know. Undoubtedly I could have obtained 
fresh tobacco and fresh paper, and thus have enjoyed 
the longed-fpr ^moke. But I tell you I hi^v? been 



A Promissory Note 317 

unable to think these things out. I have been as 
feeble-minded as any imbecile. For a few days I 
obtained a little consolation out of liquor, but one 
night after taking a drink I thought I noticed a 
sediment in the bottom of the glass. I looked at it 
closer, and there it was. A whitish powder. Un- 
doubtedly arsenic' 

" * Why not sugar ? ' said Mr. Barnes. 

** * I don't know. That never occurred to me. 
Perhaps it was. At all events I have not had a drop 
of anything since, except water. No tea, no coffee, 
no liquor that might hide a poison. Only clear 
water, drawn from the hydrant with my own hands, 
into a cup that I carried about my person, and 
washed out before every draught. I was deter- 
mined that he should not poison me except by 
poisoning the reservoir. This necessitated adopting 
a plan for eating that would be equally safe. So I 
have taken to eating at restaurants, a different one 
for every meal. ' 

" * You have allowed yourself to become morbid 
on this subject. I should not be surprised if this 
man really has no intention of committing this mur- 
der, but has taken this means of having revenge, by 
causing you a month of mental suffering. ' 

** * I hardly think that. He has made several 
efforts to kill me already. ' 

" * In what manner ? ' 

** * Well, twice, in my own house, I was shot at 
from without. I heard the report of a pistol each 
time, and a ball passed close to me and entered the 



3i8 A Promissory Note 

wall at my side. After the second attempt I de- 
cided to change my place of abode, and took a room 
at my club. The room had but one window, and 
that opened on the interior court. I was particular 
that it should not be exposed to the street. For 
several days nothing happened; then one night, 
just as I was putting out my gas, and consequently 
standing by the window, again I heard a pistol shot, 
and another bullet whistled past me, all too close. 
The odd thing was that though I had an immediate 
investigation made, it is certain that my enemy was 
not in the building. ' 

** * In that case, the shot must have come in acci- 
dentally. Some one opposite was probably handling 
his pistol and carelessly touched the trigger, causing 
the explosion. Naturally, when he found that you 
had nearly been shot, he chose not to make any ex- 
planations. * 

** * However that may be, I thought it best to 
move again. This time I found a room in a hotel, 
where the only ventilation is from a skylight open- 
ing upon the roof. In there at least I have felt safe 
from intruding bullets. But I am disturbed by the 
regularity with which those postal-cards come to me. 
The address has always been changed as I have 
moved from one place to another. ' 

** * Evidently your man keeps an eye upon 
you.' 

Very evidently, though I have never set eyes 
upon him since his visit on the night when he made 
me give him that diabolically conceived promissory 



A Promissory Note 319 

note. Now that is the story. Can you do anything 
for me ? * 

** * Let me see ; according to the calculation on the 
card that reached you this morning there are still 
two days of respite ? ' 

** * Not of respite. There is no respite from my 
torture till the end comes, be that what it may. But 
there are two days remaining of the thirty.' *' 

*' That was the problem, Mr. Mitchel,'* said Mr. 
Barnes, ** which I was called upon to solve. Bear- 
ing in mind that I had not yet received the other 
man's communication, you will, of course, concede 
that it was my duty to endeavor to save this man ? " 

" Undoubtedly. It was your duty to save the 
man under any circumstances. We should always 
prevent crime where we can. The question here was 
rather kow you might be able to accomplish this." 

** How would you have proceeded, had the case 
been in your care ? " 

" Oh, no, Mr. Barnes," said Mr. Mitchel, laugh- 
ing. '* You cannot be allowed to get my advice 
after the affair is over. I must come in as principal 
or spectator. In this instance I am merely a spec- 
tator." 

** Very well. As you please. My plan, I think, 
was as ingenious as it was simple. It was evident 
to me either that we had to deal with a man who 
did not intend to kill his victim, in which case any 
course would save him ; or else the affair might be 
serious. If the man really was plotting murder, the 
affair occupying so long a time was unquestionably 



320 A Promissory Note 

premeditated and thoroughly well planned. What- 
ever the scheme, it was equally obvious that we 
could not hope to fathom it. The blow, if it should 
come, would be swift and sure. Consequently but 
one course lay before us." 
" And that was ?" 

" To remove our man to such a place of safety 
that the blow, however well conceived, could not by 
any possibility reach him." 

" Ah, well argued! And could you find such a 
place?" 

" Yes. A private room in a safe-deposit vault." 
" Not bad. Not half bad. And you did this ? " 
" Without delay. I explained my purpose to the 
officers of one of these institutions, and before 
another hour had passed I had Mr. Odell * safely 
deposited,* where none could reach him except 
myself." 
** Of course you supplied him with eatables ? " 
" Yes, indeed, and liquor and cigars beside. Poor 
fellow! How he must have enjoyed his cigars! 
When I visited him yesterday, on opening the 
door of his room he looked like a spectre in a fog. 
Now I must further remind you that I put Mr. Odell 
in this safety-vault before receiving the letter from 
the Texan, firmly believing at the time that we were 
taking unnecessary precautions. After reading the 
Texan's story I altered my mind, becoming con- 
vinced that any other course would have been fatal. 
Indeed so impressed was I with the determination 
of this man to have Mr. Odell's life, that though I 






4 < 
it 



A Promissory Note 321 

had the intended victim absolutely safe, still I felt 
it my duty to make assurance doubly sure, by re- 
maining at the vault myself throughout the rest of 
the final twenty-four hours, which terminated at 
noon to-day." 

Then you released your prisoner ? ** 
I did, and a happier man than he you never saw. 
He stood out in the open air and took a long breath 
as eagerly as a drunkard drinks his tipple. ' ' 
And then what ? ' ' 

Why, then we separated. He said he would go 
to his hotel for a good sleep, for he had little rest 
in that vault. * ' 

" And that, you think, ends the case ? *' 
A quizzical tone in Mr. Mitchel's voice attracted 
Mr. Barnes's keen sense of hearing, and, slightly 
disturbed, he said: 

" Why, yes. What do you think ? " 
" I think I would like to go to that man's hotel, 
and I think we cannot get there too quickly." 
" Why, what do you mean ? Explain." 
** I cannot explain. There is no time. Do not 
waste another minute, but let us go at once and call 
on your client." 

Mystified, Mr. Barnes jumped up, and the two 
men hurried out of the building and up Broadway. 
They had only a few blocks to walk, and were soon 
in the elevator of the hotel ascending to the top 
floor where was that room whose only communica- 
tion with the outer world was a skylight. Reach- 
ing the door, Mr. Barnes tried the knob, but the 



21 



322 A Promissory Note 

door was locked. He knocked first lightly and then 
more violently, but there was no response. 

"It is useless, Mr. Barnes," said Mr. Mitchel. 
" We must break in the door, and I fear we may be 
too late." 

"Too late?" said Mr. Barnes, wonderingly ; 
but without losing more time throwing his weight 
against the door it yielded and flew in. The two 
men and the hall-boy entered, and pointing to the 
floor where lay the body of a man, Mr. Mitchel said : 

** See! we are too late." 

They lifted the man to the bed, and hastily sum- 
moned medical aid, but he was dead. While the 
hall-boy was gone to call the doctor, Mr, Barnes 
ruefully said : 

" This is incomprehensible to me. After reading 
that Texan's letter, I was so assured that however 
vengeful he. might be, still he was an honorable man, 
that I felt positive he would keep his word, and that 
this man would be safe at the expiration of the 
note." 

" You were entirely right in your estimate of the 
Texan's character, Mr. Barnes. Your fatal error 
was in regard to the expiration of the note." 

Why, the thirty days expired at noon to-day." 
Very true. But you have overlooked the usual 
three days' grace! " 
The devil." 

Just so; the devil, — in this instance the devil 
being the Texan. Ordinarily the extra three days 
|s an extension demanded by the maker of the note, 



t < 



1 1 



A Promissory Note 323 

but in this instance it has been utilized by the de- 
viser of the scheme, who, knowing that his man 
would be on guard during the thirty days, misled him 
by a promise of safety thereafter. But he did more 
than that." 

** What do you mean ? " 

" Why, how has he accomplished. his purpose ? 
How has he killed this man up here in a locked 
room, which has no window through which a bullet 
might be fired ? *' 

** I do not know; that is another puzzle to be 
solved.'* 

** I have already solved it. The promissory note 
is the vehicle of his vengeance, — the means by 
which the opportunity was obtained, and the means 
by which the end has been consummated. You 
will recall that Odell told you that the . Texan 
promised that if he should live beyond the limita- 
tion of the note it would be returned so that he 
might burn it, and he might then consider the 
matter terminated. These were very suggestive 
words, and have wrought this man ruin. Evidently 
soon after he reached this hotel, feeling that at last 
he had escaped his threatened doom, an envelope 
was sent up to him, which contained the so-called 
promissory note. It being too dark in here to read, 
he lighted his gas. The reception of this paper 
caused him satisfaction because it seemed to show 
that his adversary was keeping faith. It had been 
suggested to him that he might * burn * the note, 
and so * terminate * the affair. Therefore he set fire 



324 A Promissory Note 

• 
to the paper, which evidently had been charged with 
an explosive substance. The explosion not only 
stunned if it did not kill the man, but it extinguished 
the gas, leaving the jet open, so that if not destroyed 
by the explosive he certainly must have been as- 
phyxiated by the escaping gas. Here on the floor 
is a bit of the paper, and we can still see a few of 
the words which we know were contained in the 
promissory note. Then there is the gas turned on, 
while it is still daylight without. Am I right ? " 

** Unquestionably,'* said Mr. Barnes. ** What a 
diabolical scheme from conception to the flnal act ! 
But suppose that Mr. Odell had not burned that 
paper ? Then the scheme must have failed." 

" Not at all. You still overlook the three days of 
grace, of which but a few hours have yet expired." 



X 



A NOVEL FORGERY 

Mr. Barnes was wondering whether he would 
soon have a case which would require special mental 
effort in its solution. ** Something that will make 
me think," was the way he phrased it to himself. 
The same idea had occupied him for some time. 
Not that he had been idle, but his ** cases " had all 
been of such a nature that with a little supervision 
it had been safe to intrust them entirely to his sub- 
ordinates. Nothing had occurred to compel his 
personal investigation. On this morning, however, 
fate had something peculiarly attractive for him. 
His office-boy announced a visitor, who, when shown 
into the detective's sanctum, introduced himself 
thus: 

" I am Stephen West, cashier of the Fulton 
National Bank. Is this Mr. Barnes?" 

" Yes, sir," replied the detective. ** Is your busi- 
ness important ? " 

It is very important to me," said Mr. West. 

I am interested to the extent of forty thousand 
dollars." 

** Forty thousand dollars! Forgery ? " Receiv- 

325 



< < 



326 A Novel Foi^ery 

ing an assenting nod, Mr. Barnes arose and closed 
the door of the office after instructing the boy to 
prevent his being disturbed. Returning to his 
seat, he said: " Now then, Mr. West, tell me the 
story. All of it, as far as you know it. Omit 
no detail, however unimportant it may seem to 
you." 

** Very good. My bank has been swindled out 
of forty thousand dollars in the most mysterious 
manner. We have received four checks, each for 
ten thousand dollars. These were signed with the 
name John Wood, one of our best customers. In 
making up his monthly balance these checks were 
sent to his house in the usual order of business. 
To-day Mr. Wood came to the bank, and declared 
them to be forgeries." 

** Were these checks paid by you personally ? " 
** Oh, no. We received them through the Clear- 
ing-House. They had been deposited at the Harlem 
National Bank, and reached us in the routine way. 
They were taken on four different days." 

** Who was the depositor at the Harlem Bank ? " 
** There is a mystery there. His name is Carl 
Grasse. Inquiry at the Harlem Bank shows that he 
has been a depositor for about a year. He had a 
seemingly flourishing business, a beer-garden and 
concert place. Recently he sold out and returned 
to his home in Germany. Before doing so he drew 
out his deposits and closed his account." 

** How is it that you did not yourself detect the 
forgeries ? I supposed you bank people were so ex- 



\ 



J 



1 



< < 



< < 



A Novel Forgery 327 

pert nowadays that the cashing of a worthless check 
would be impossible/* 

** Here are the forged checks, and here is one 
cashed by us since the accounting, which is genuine. 
Compare them, and perhaps you will admit that 
anyone might have been deceived." 

Mr. Barnes examined the checks very closely, 
using a lens to assist his eyes. Presently he laid 
them down without comment, and said : 

What do you wish me to do, Mr. West ? " 
To me it seems like a hopeless task, but at least 
I should like to have the forger arrested. I will 
gladly pay five hundred dollars as a reward." 

Mr. Barnes took up the checks again, examined 
them most carefully with the lens,, and once more 
laid them down. He strummed on his desk a mo- 
ment and then said suddenly : 

** Mr. West, suppose that I not only arrest the 
guilty man, but recover the forty thousand dol- 
lars?" 

** You don't mean to say " began Mr. West, 

rather astonished. 

I said * suppose,' interrupted Mr. Barnes. 
Why, in that case," said Mr. West, ** I would 
gladly give a thousand more." 

** The terms suit me," said the detective. " I '11 
do my best. Leave these checks with me, and I '11 
report to you as promptly as possible. One mo- 
ment," as Mr. West was about to depart; ** I will 
make a memorandum of something you must do 
yourself. " He wrote a few lines on a sheet of paper 



< < 



328 A Novel Forgery 

and handed it to Mr. West, saying, *' Let me have 
those to-day, if possible." 

One week later Mr. West received the following 
note: 

" Stephen West, Esq. : — 

" Dear Sir — I have completed my investigation of 
your case. Please call at my office at four o'clock. 
If convenient, you may as well bring with you a 
check for fifteen hundred dollars, made payable to 

" John Barnes.*' 



\ 

; 



I 



** Great heavens!" ejaculated the cashier upon 
reading the above, ** he tells me to bring fifteen 
hundred dollars. That means he has recovered the 
money. Thank God ! " He dropped into his chair, 
overcome at the sudden release from the suspense 
of the previous week, and a few tears trickled down 
his cheek as he thought of his wife and little one 
who would not now be obliged to give up their 
pretty little home to make good his loss. 

Promptly at four he was ushered into the presence 
of Mr. Barnes. Impatient to have his hopes con- 
firmed, he exclaimed at once: 1 
** Am I right ? You have succeeded ? " I 
** Most thoroughly," said the detective. ** I have 
discovered the thief, and have him in prison. I also ' 
have his written confession." 

** But^the forty thousand dollars ? " 
** All safe and sound. Your bank does not lose a 
dollar — except the reward." Mr. Barnes added the 
last after a pause and with a twinkle of his eye. 



A Novel Forgery 329 

" Oh, Mr. Barnes, that is a trifle compared to 
what I expected. But tell me, how was this trick 
played on us ? Who did it ? " 

** Suppose I give you a detailed account of my 
work in solving the riddle ? I am just in the humor 
for telling it, and besides you will be more appre- 
ciative. 

** That is just what I should most desire." 

*' Very well,*' began Mr. Barnes. ** We will go 
back to the moment when, after scrutinizing the 
checks, I asked what you would give for the recovery 
of the money. I asked that because a suspicion had 
entered my mind, and I knew that if it should prove 
to be correct, the arrest of the criminal and the re- 
covery of the money would be simultaneous. I will 
not explain now why that should be a necessary 
sequence, as you will see that I was right. But I 
will tell you what made me entertain the suspicion. 
In the first place, as you know, of course, John 
Wood uses a private special check. The forgeries 
were upon blanks which had been stolen from his 
check-book. Thus the thief seemingly had access 
to it. Next, as is commonly done nowadays, the 
amount of the check was not only written, but also 
punched out, with the additional precaution of 
punching a dollar mark before and after the figures. 
It would seem therefore almost impossible that any 
alterations had been made after the check wos origin- 
ally drawn. Such things have been done, the holes 
being filled up with paper pulp, and new ones 
punched afterwards. But in this case nothing of 



<< 



< < 



330 A Novel Forgery 

the sort had been attempted, nor indeed was any 
such procedure necessary, for the checks were not 
raised from genuine ones, but had been declared by 
Wood to be forgeries outright. That is, he denied 
the signatures." 

Certainly. They were declared to be spurious. ' ' 
Exactly. Now that was all that 1 knew when 
you were here last except that the signatures seemed 
to be very similar. It was possible that they were 
tracings. The plain deduction from this was that 
the forger was some one in John Wood's establish- 
ment ; some one who could have access to the check- 
book, to the punch, and also have a chance to copy 
the signature, if it was copied.'* 

All that is quite clear, but how to proceed ? " 
I instructed you to send me a list of all the 
checks which had been paid out on John Wood's ac- 
count, giving their dates, numbers, and amounts. I 
also asked you to procure for me from the Harlem 
National Bank a similar list of checks paid on order 
of Carl Grasse. These two lists you sent to me, and 
they have been very useful. As soon as you left 
me, and whilst awaiting your lists, I tried some ex- 
periments with the forged checks. First I argued 
that if the signatures were traced, having been 
made, as it were, from a model, it would follow nec- 
essarily that they would exactly coincide if superim- 
posed the one upon the other. Now whilst a man 
from habit will write his name very similarly a thou- 
sand times, I doubt if in a million times he would, 
or could, exactly reproduce his signature. The test 



t i 



4 i 



A Novel Forgery 331 

of placing one over the other and examining with 
transmitted light satisfied me that they were not 
tracings. I compared each check with each of the 
others, and with the genuine one which you also left 
with me. No two were exact counterparts of one 
another. Still this did not completely prove that 
they were not tracings, for an artistic criminal might 
have gone so far as to trace each check from a differ- 
ent model, thus avoiding identity whilst preserving 
similarity. ' ' 

" Mr. Barnes," said Mr. West, admiringly, ** you 
delight me with your care in reasoning out your 
point.*' 

** Mr. West, in speculating upon circumstantial 
evidence the most thorough care must be used, if 
one would avoid arresting the innocent. Nothing, 
to my mind, is stronger proof against a criminal 
than a complete chain of circumstantial evidence, 
but again, nothing is so misleading if at any stage a 
mistake, an omission, or a misconstruction be allowed 
to occur. In this case, then, as I was starting out to 
prove what was merely a suspicion, I determined 
to be most careful, for indeed I dislike following up 
suspicion at any time. A suspicion is a prejudg- 
ment, and may prove a hindrance to correct reason- 
ing. Not entirely satisfied, therefore, I took the 
next step. A tracing can be made in either of two 
ways : with a lead-pencil, or with a stylus of glass or 
agate. The former leaves a deposit of the lead, 
whilst the latter makes an indentation upon the 
paper. In the first case the forger will attempt to 



332 A Novel Forgery 

remove the lead with an erasing rubber, but will not 
succeed thoroughly, because some of it will be cov- 
ered by the ink, and because of the danger of injur- 
ing the surface of the paper. In the latter instance, 
if he be a very thoughtful man, he might undertake 
to remove the indentation by rubbing the opposite 
side with the end of his knife or with an ivory paper- 
cutter. In either case a careful scrutiny with a 
strong glass would show the burnishing upon the 
reverse side. I could find nothing of the sort. 
Taking one of the checks I applied a solution to 
remove the ink. A thorough examination dis- 
closed that there was no sign either of the graph- 
ite, or of the indentation from the stylus. In fact, 
I became satisfied that the signatures had not been 
traced." 

** But what did that prove ? They might have 
been imitations made by a clever penman." 

** They might have been, but I doubted it; and 
since you ask, I will give my reasons. In the first 
place, the signatures were accepted at your bank 
not once, but four times. It would be a remarkably 
clever man to deceive experts so well. However, I 
did not abandon this possibility until further de- 
velopments showed conclusively to my mind that it 
would be a waste of time to follow up that line of 
research. Had it been necessary to do so, I should 
have discovered who in the place had the opportun- 
ity to do the work, and by examining their past I 
should have received a hint as to which of these was 
most likely to be my man. For any man who couldi 



A Novel Forgery 333 

have the ability to commit such a clever forgery 
must have acquired it as a sequence of special skill 
and aptitude with his pen of which his friends would 
be cognizant. Once I looked up such a man, and 
found that as a boy he had forged his parents' names 
to excuses for absences from school. Later he turned 
to higher things. In this instance I was satisfied 
that the only person having the access to materials, 
the knowledge of the financial condition of the con- 
cern, and the ability to write the checks, was Mr. 
John Wood himself." 

** John Wood ! *' exclaimed the cashier. " Im- 
possible! Why, that would mean that " 

** Nothing is impossible, Mr. West. I know what 
you would say. That it involved his having an ac- 
complice in this Carl Grasse ? Well, that is what I 
suspected, and that is why I asked for an additional 
reward for the recovery of the funds. If I could 
prove that John Wood made the checks himself, 
they ceased to be forgeries in one sense, and the 
bank could rightfully charge the amounts against 
his account. But let me tell you why I abandoned 
your theory that an expert penman was at work. 
Observe that though you would have honored a 
check for forty thousand dollars drawn by John 
Wood, yet the forgeries were four in number. That 
showed that the man was not afraid of arousing your 
suspicion. The only man who could feel absolutely 
sure upon that point was John Wood. But there 
is another pretty point. These checks being spuri- 
ous, and yet being numbered, could arouse your 



334 A Novel Forgery 

suspicion in two ways. If the numbers upon them 
greatly varied from those upon genuine checks 
coming in at the same time, the fraud would have 
been detected quickly. On the other hand, he 
could not give you correct numbers without being 
either in collusion with his bookkeeper or else dupli- 
cating the numbering of other checks. That the 
latter course was pursued, exempted the bookkeeper. 
All the numbers on the forged checks were duplicates 
of those on genuine ones." 

" But, Mr. Barnes, that did not arouse our sus- 
picion, because '' 

** Just so," interrupted Mr. Barnes, ** but let me 
tell you why, as the why is a very significant link in 
our chain. Your list of this man's checks helped 
me there. About a year ago Carl Grasse appeared 
upon the scene in Harlem, buying out a beer-garden, 
and starting an account in the Harlem National 
Bank. Now observe that prior to that time, froni 
the first check sent to you by Wood, the strictest 
regularity as to numbering obtained. There is not 
a break or a skip anywhere. But in February, the 
month after Carl Grasse moved to Harlem, there is 
a duplication in Wood's checks. Two have the 
same numbering, but both are for trifling amounts, 
sixteen dollars in one instance and forty in the other. 
You possibly passed it over. Next month, I find 
two duplications, and from then on this apparent 
mistake happens no less than ten times." 

** Mr. Barnes, the bookkeepers did notice this, and 
we spoke to Mr. Wood, but he said it was simply a 



A Novel Forgery 335 

clerical error of his own due to haste in business 
hours/' 

** Exactly, but he was paving the way for his big 
coup. He was disarming you of suspicion. This 
one fact satisfied me that I was on the right track, 
but your list gave me even better corroboration. 
On February ist I find that Wood cashed a check 
payable to himself for ten thousand and fifty-nine 
dollars. On February 2d, Carl Grasse opened an 
account with the Harlem Bank, depositing ten thou- 
sand dollars, paying in the amount, in cash. This 
might seem but a coincidence, but by looking over 
the books of the beer-garden, which is still in exist- 
ence, Grasse having sold it out, I find that on Feb- 
ruary 2d, Grasse paid his employees just fifty-nine, 
dollars. The difference, you see, between Wood's 
draft and Grasse's deposit." 

** It certainly seems to connect the two, when we 
remember that the final forgeries were checks signed 
by Wood in favor of Grasse." 

** Precisely, but follow this a little further. For 
several months there is nothing to connect the two 
so far as their banking goes, but note that during 
this lapse Grasse does not draw a single check in 
favor of himself, nor does he deposit any checks 
from others. His transactions with his customers 
are strictly cash, and his checks are all to dealers, 
who supply him with his stock. None of these are 
for large amounts, and his balance does not exceed 
twelve thousand dollars at any time. On October 
1st he deposited five thousand dollars in cash. On 



336 A Novel Forgery 

the day before that, Wood drew that amount out 
of your bank. On the 12th, this is repeated by 
both, and on the 14th, Grasse cashes a check for 
twelve thousand dollars, taking cash. This goes 
through successfully, and the Harlem Bank is made 
to see that Grasse commands large amounts and uses 
large amounts. This is repeated in varying amounts 
in November, and again in December, the bank by 
this time being quite ready to pay out money to 
Grasse. On January 2d, Wood has his check ac- 
count balanced. On the 3d, Grasse deposits Wood's 
check for ten thousand dollars. This goes through 
the Clearing-House, and is accepted by your bank. 
The Harlem Bank is therefore satisfied of its authen- 
ticity. On the 5th, Grasse deposits check number 
two, and at the same time cashes a check for ten 
thousand dollars. The second spurious check goes 
through all right, and on the loth and iSth, the 
transactions are repeated. On the 20th, Grasse ex- 
plains to the Harlem Bank that he has sold his busi- 
ness, and is going home to Germany. He closes his 
account, taking out his money, and disappears from 
the scene. You are forty thousand dollars out by a 
clever swindle, with nothing to prove your suspicions 
save a few coincidences in the banking records of the 
two men." 

** But assuredly, Mr. Barnes, enough evidence 
upon which to arrest Mr. Wood ? *' 

** To arrest him, yes. But to convict him ? That 
is another affair. Without conviction you do not 
recover your money. No, my work was by no 



A Novel Forgery 337 

means finished. I first sought to follow Grasse. I 
did not have far to go. At the Hamburg-American 
line I found him booked, but investigation showed 
that he never sailed. The ticket which he bought 
has never been taken up." 

** Then the accomplice is still in this country ? " 

** No; the accomplice is not in this country," 
said Mr. Barnes, dryly. ** Don't get ahead of the 
story. At this stage of the game I made some 
singular discoveries. I found, for example, that 
Carl Grasse slept over his saloon, but that he fre- 
quently would be absent all night. I also learned 
that when he did sleep there, he would leave about 
nine o'clock in the morning for that mysterious 
realm, * down-town.' When he slept elsewhere, he 
usually reached the saloon at eight, and still went 
* down-town ' at nine. It was his general custom 
to get back about five in the afternoon. Extending, 
my researches in the direction of John Wood, I 
learned that he was customarily at his office at ten 
o'clock, seldom leaving before four. Moreover, at 
his apartment the janitor told me that he frequently 
slept elsewhere, and that when he passed the night 
at that place, he would leave about seven in the 
morning. Do you follow me ? ** 

** Do you mean that John Wood and Carl Grasse 
are one and the same person ? " 

'* That idea entered my mind about this time. 
Up at the saloon I found some other small evidences 
that this was a probability. You see, a man may 
disguise his personal appearance, but it is difficult 



aa 



338 A Novel Forgery 

for him to change his habits with his clothing. For 
example, I found that Mr. Wood always uses Car- 
ter's writing fluid, and Mr. Grasse had the same 
predilection, as the empty bottles attest. More- 
over, the bottles are of the same size in both places. 
Next I observe that both men used the same make 
of stub pens. Again note that though Carl Grasse 
is a German name and the man was keeping a beer 
saloon, he was never seen to drink beer himself. 
John Wood has the same antipathy to malt. But 
most singular is the fact that this man, who so care- 
fully laid his plans, should have actually bought a 
check-punching stamp of the same make and style 
of figures as that used in the Wood establishment." 

** Perhaps he did that so that he could make the 
spurious checks up-town instead of down-town, 
where he might be discovered.'* 

** More than likely, but he should have taken it 
away with him. There is always some little detail 
of this kind that even the most skilful overlooks. 
He probably thought that the similarity of the in- 
struments would never be detected, or made to 
count against him. It is nothing in itself, but as a 
link in a chain it mends a break. There was one 
fact, however, at wide variance with the theory of 
the identity of the two men. Wood is of ordinary 
build, with black hair and smooth-shaven face. 
Grasse is described as very stout, with red hair and 
whiskers. Of course, following the theory of imper- 
sonation, if Wood transformed himself into a stout 
man, totally different clothing would be needed for 



A Novel Forgery 339 

the two parts which he played. I found that Wood 
always dressed in the finest broadcloth, whilst Grasse 
wore conspicuous plaids. Supposing that he wore 
a red wig and false whiskers, I determined to find 
the man from whom he had procured them. I 
guessed that he would avoid any well-known place, 
and I began my hunt in the costumers' shops on 
Third Avenue. I went to several without obtaining 
any clue, when at last fortune favored me. I found 
a place where, upon their books, in last January was 
a record of * red wig and whiskers ' for the same 
customer. Moreover, they had furnished this per- 
son with a * make-up ' for a fat German, giving him 
the necessary * pads,' as they are called, a suit of 
underwear wadded so as to increase the proportion 
of the body. Can you guess what I did next ? ** 

'* I think not.'' 

'* It was an inspiration. I ordered a similar outfit 
for myself, including the plaid suit. This morning 
they were delivered to me, and, dressed in them, I 
induced the costumer to go with me to Wood's place. 
As soon as I was shown into his presence, I began 
to talk in a most excited, angry tone. I said * Mr. 
Wood, I come for satisfaction. I am Carl Grasse, the 
man you have been personating up-town. I am the 
man whose name you forged to the back of your 
own checks. And this is the costumer who sold you 
the disguise. Am I not right ? ' This last speech I 
addressed to the costumer, who, to my intense satis- 
faction, said, * Yes, that is the gentleman ; but I did 
not know he was going to impersonate anybody.' " 



340 A Novel Forgery 

** What happened then ? '* asked the cashier. 

** Well," said Mr. Barnes, ** I had better luck than 
I had expected, though, in line with my hopes. You 
see, my sudden appearance before him, my words, 
and my rapid speech, all tended to confuse him. 
He suddenly heard himself accused of forging the 
name of ' Carl Grasse,' and for the moment thought 
only of defending himself from that charge. He 
was utterly taken back, and stammered out, * I did 
not forge anybody's name. The checks had my 
own signature, and the endorsement — that was **Carl 
Grasse. ' ' There is no such person. ' Then suddenly 
seeing that he was making a mistake and incriminat- 
ing himself, he exclaimed, * Who the devil are 
you ? ' 

** * I am a detective,' I answered, quickly seizing 
his arms and putting on a pair of manacles, * and I 
arrest you for swindling the Fulton Bank, whether 
your offense be forgery or not.' That settled him. 
He wilted and began to cry for mercy. He even 
offered me money to let him escape. I delivered 
him to the Central Office officials, and since then 
the Inspector has obtained a voluntary confession 
from him. Are you satisfied, Mr. West ? " 

** I am more than satisfied. I am amazed. Mr. 
Barnes, you are a genius." 

** Not at all, Mr. West, I am a detective." 



XI 



A FROSTY MORNING.* 

'* Thank heaven, you have come," exclaimed Mr. 
Van Rawlston, as Mr. Mitchel entered. ** I have a 
thousand pounds on my mind, and " 

** Never heard of the disease," interrupted Mr. 
Mitchel. ** If you consider mind and brain to be 
synonymous, the locality is popularly supposed to 
be inundated with water occasionally — but then, 
you mentioned a thousand pounds, and, a pound 
being a pint, we would have a thousand pints, or 
five hundred quarts, and — well, really, your head 
seems hardly large enough, so '* 

** I am talking of money," ejaculated Mr. Van 
Rawlston, sharply ; ** English money. Pounds 
sterling. * * 

** The deuce you are! Money, eh ? Money on 
the brain ! Oh, I 've heard of that. It is a very 
common disorder." 

** Mitchel, I sent for you to help me. I am up to 
my ears in a mystery. I 've been in this room 
nearly all day trying to solve it. I 've had your 

♦Copyright by Short Story Publishing Company. Republished 
from the B/ack Cat, by permission. 

341 



342 A Frosty Morning 

friend Barnes working on it for several hours, yet 
we have made no progress. In despair I thought 
of you ; of your cool, keen, analytical brain, and I 
decided that you could discover the truth, if any 
man can. But if you are in a jesting humor, 
why '' 

** A thousand pardons, old friend. That is one 
pardon for feach of your pounds. But, there, for- 
give me, arid I will be serious. I received your 
note late, because I did not reach home until dinner 
time. You asked me to call here as soon as possible, 
and here I am within half an hour of reading your 
message. Now, then, about this thousand pounds 
sterling. Where are they, or is it, as you are most 
accustomed to speaking. The plural or singular 
verb seems to be a matter of choice with large 
amounts." 

The money is in this room." 
In this room ? You know that, and yet cannot 
find it ?" 

** Therein lies the mystery. I had it in my hands 
this morning, and within a few minutes it had 
vanished." 

** Now, Mr. Van Rawlston, if you are presenting 
a problem for me to solve, I beg of you to be mi- 
nutely accurate in your statements. You say * had 
vanished.' That is manifestly an impossibility. I 
presume you mean * seemed to have vanished.' " 

** There was no seeming about it. It was a single 
bank-note, and I placed it on this table. Five 
minutes later it had disappeared." 



it 



A Frosty Morning 343 

** * Disappeared * is a better word, by long odds. 
* It passed out of your sight, you mean. That I can 
believe. The question then arises, how was this 
disappearance managed. I say managed, which is 
an intimation of my belief that the note did not hide 
itself, but rather that it was hidden. From this 
postulate I deduce that two or more persons, be- 
sides yourself, were present at the time of said dis- 
appearance of said bank-note. Am I correct ? " 

** You are, but really I can't see how you have 
guessed that there was more than one person with 
me!'' 

** It could not be otherwise. Had there been but 
one person in this room with you, you would not 
think, you would know absolutely that he took the 
note. That you have a doubt as to the identity of 
the culprit, shows that you suspect one of two or 
more persons.'' 

** Mitchel, I am delighted that I sent for you. 
You are exactly the man to recover this money." 

** What about Barnes ? I think you mentioned 
his name ? " 

** Yes. Naturally my first thought was to send 
for a detective, and I remembered him in connection 
with that ruby robbery of yours, which occurred at 
my house. He is now following a clue which he 
considers a good one, and will report during the 
evening. But perhaps I should relate the exact 
circumstances of this affair. The details are strik- 
ingly curious, I assure you." 

** Now that I know that Barnes is on the scent, I 



344 A Frosty Morning 

may say that I am eager for the fray. Nothing 
would please me better than to succeed where he 
fails. Every time I outwit him, it is a feather in 
my cap, and another argument in favor of my theory ' 
that the professional detective is a much over-rated; 
genius. Allow me to light a cigar, and make myself' 
comfortable, in exchange for which privilege I will 
devote my undivided attention to your tale of woe." 

Mr. Mitchel drew forth a handsome gold case, 
which bore his monogram in diamonds, and selected 
a choice Havana, which he puffed complacently as 
Mr. Van Rawlston proceeded. 

** Some thirty years ago, or more," began Mr. 
Van Rawlston, ** there came into my office a young 
Englishman, who introduced himself as Thomas 
Eggleston. The object of his visit was curious. 
He wished to borrow four thousand dollars upon 
collateral. Imagine my surprise when the security 
offered proved to be an English bank-note for one 
thousand pounds. It seemed odd that he should 
wish to borrow, when he could readily have ex- 
changed his note for American currency, but he 
explained that for sentimental reasons he wished not 
to part with this note permanently. He desired to 
redeem it in the future, and keep it as a memento — 
the foundation of the fortune which he hoped to 
earn in this new land." 

A singular wish," interposed Mr. Mitchel. 
Singular indeed. So much so that my interest 
was keenly aroused. I agreed to advance the sum 
demanded without charge. Moreover, I put him in 



i * 



i i 



A Frosty Morning 345 

the way of some good speculations which paved his 
way to success at the outset. It was not long be- 
fore his thousand-pound note was back in his posses- 
sion. Since then we have been close friends, and I 
was not surprised, when he died a few days ago, to 
find that I had been named as executor of his 
estates. Now I must speak of three other persons. 
When Eggleston came to this country he brought 
with him a sister. A few years later she married a 
man named Hetheridge, a worthless scamp, who 
supposed he was marrying money, and who soon 
abandoned his wife when he learned that she was 
poor. I think he drank himself to death. Mrs. 
Hetheridge did not survive him very long, but she 
left a little girl, now grown to womanhood. Alice 
Hetheridge is one of the persons who was present 
when the bank-note disappeared. A second was 
Arthur Lumley, of whom I know little, except that 
he is in love with Alice, and that he was here to- . 
day. Robert Eggleston was also present. He is 
the nephew of the deceased, and proved to be the 
heir to the bulk of the estate. He has only been in 
this country a few months, and has lived in this 
house during that time. Now I come to the events 
of to-day." 

** Kindly be as explicit as possible," said Mr. 
Mitchel. ** Omit no detail, however trifling." 

** My friend died very unexpectedly," continued 
Mr. Van Rawlston. ** On Saturday he was well, 
and on Monday dead. On Wednesday morning, 
the day of the funeral, his man of business brought 



346 A Frosty Morning 

me his client's will. I learned by it that I was 
chosen an executor, and I undertook to make its 
contents known to the family. I appointed this 
morning for that purpose, and when I came, I was 
surprised to find young Lumley present. Alice 
took me aside, and explained that she had invited 
him, and so I was silenced. I asked her to bring 
me a certain box described in the will, which she 
did. It was locked, the key having been brought 
to me with the will. I took from it a packet which 
contained a bank-note for a thousand pounds; the 
same upon which I had once loaned Eggleston 
money. There were also some government bonds, 
and railroad securities. Having compared these 
with the list attached to the will, I then read aloud 
the testament of my dear friend. A part of this I 
will read to you, as possibly shedding some light 
upon the situation.*' 

** One moment,'* interposed Mr. Mitchel. ** You 
said that the packet taken from the box contained 
the bank-note as well as the bonds and other securi- 
ties. Are you sure that the note was there ? " 

** Oh, yes. I found it first, and placed it on the 
table in front of me, while I went through the other 
papers. When I looked for it again, it had vanished. 
I say vanished, though you do not like the word, 
because it seems incredible that one would dare to 
steal in the presence of three others. But listen 
to an extract from the will. After bequeathing all 
of his property to his nephew, Eggleston inserted 
this paragraph : 



A Frosty Morning 347 



<< ( 



To my dear niece I must explain why she is 
not named as my heiress. My father married twice. 
By his first wife he had a son, William, and by my 
own mother, my sister and myself. When he died, 
my half-brother, William, was ten years my senior, 
and had amassed a considerable fortune, whereas I 
found myself penniless and dependent upon his 
bounty. He was not a generous man, but he pre- 
sented me a bank-note for a thousand pounds, and 
paid my passage to this country. My first impulse, 
after my arrival, was to make my way as rapidly as 
I could, and then to return to William the identical 
bank-note which he had given me. For this reason 
I used it as collateral, and borrowed money, instead 
of changing it for American currency. By the time 
the note was again in my possession my brother had 
given me another proof of his recognition of our con- 
sanguinity, and I decided that it would be churl- 
ish to carry out my intention. Recently William 
lost his entire fortune in unfortunate speculations, 
and the shock killed him. Before he died he gave 
his son Robert a letter to me, reminding me that 
all that I owned had been the fruit of his bounty, 
and claiming from me a share of my fortune for his 
son. I took Robert into my house, and I am bound 
to say that I have not learned to love him. This, 
however, may be a prejudice, due to the fact that 
he had come between me and my wish to make 
Alice my heiress. It may be in recognition of the 
possibility of this prejudice that I feel compelled to 
ease my conscience by bequeathing to William's son 



348 A Frosty Morning 

the fortune which grew out of William's bounty. 
The original bank-note, however, was a free gift to 
me, and I certainly may dispose of it as I please. I 
ask my niece Alice to accept it from me, as all that 
my conscience permits me to call my own.' " 

" An interesting and curious statement," com- 
mented Mr. Mitchel. ** Now tell me about the 
vanishment of the note." 

' * There is my difficulty. I have so little to tell. 
After reading the will, I laid it down, and reached 
out my hand, intending to give the bank-note to 
Alice, whereupon I discovered that it had disap- 
peared." 

'* Tell me exactly where each person was seated." 

** We were all at this table, which, you see, is 
small. I sat at this end, Alice at my right hand, 
young Eggleston at my left, and Lumley opposite 
to me." 

*' So that all three were easily within reach of the 
bank-note when you placed it upon the table ? That 
complicates matters. Well, when you discovered 
that you could not find the note, who spoke first, 
and what comment was made ? " 

** I cannot be certain. I was stunned, and the 
others seemed as much surprised as I was. I re- 
member that Eggleston asked Alice whether she 
had picked it up, adding, * It is yours, you know.' 
But she made an indignant denial. Lumley said 
nothing, but sat looking at us as though seeking an 
explanation. Then I recall that Eggleston made a 
very practical suggestion." 



A Frosty Morning 349 






(t 



Ah, what was that ?'' 

He laughed as he did so, but what he said 
was reasonable enough. In substance it was, that 
if each person in the room were searched, and 
the note not found, it would thus be proven that 
it had merely been blown from the table by some 
draught, in which case a thorough search should 
find it/' 

Was his suggestion acted upon ? ' * 

You may be sure of that. I declined once to 
allow my guests to be searched when that fellow 
Thauret suggested it, at the time of the ruby rob- 
bery. And you will remember that the scoundrel 
himself had the jewel. That taught me a lesson. 
Therefore when Eggleston made his suggestion, I 
began with him. The search was thorough, I assure 
you, but I found nothing. I had as little success 
with Lumley, and I even examined my own pockets, 
with the vague hope that I might have inadvertently 
put the note in one of them. But all my looking 



was in vain." 



<< 



Might not one of these men have secreted the 
bank-note elsewhere, and then have possessed him- 
self of it after your search ? ** 

** I took care to prevent that. As soon as I had 
gone through Eggleston, I unceremoniously bundled 
him out of the room. I did the same with Lumley, 
and neither has been allowed in here since. ' ' 

What about the young lady ? ** 

It would be absurd to suspect her. The note 
was her property. Still she insisted upon my search- 



t * 
i < 



350 A Frosty Morning 

ing her, and I examined her pocket. Of course, I 
found nothing." 

y Ah, you only examined her pocket. Well, 
under the circumstances, I suppose that was all 
you could do. Thus, having sent the three persons 
out of the room, you think that the bank-note 
is still here. A natural deduction, only I wish 
that the woman might have been more thoroughly 
searched. I suppose you have looked about the 
room ? ' ' 

** I sent for Mr. Barnes, and he and I made a 
most careful search." 

** What view does he take of the case ? " 

Before Mr. Van Rawlston could reply there was a 
sharp ring at the door-bell, and a moment later Mr. 
Barnes himself was ushered in. 

*' Speak of the Devil, and his imps appear," said 
Mr. Mitchel, jocularly. ** Well, Mr. Imp of Satan, 
what luck ? Has your patron assisted you ? Have 
you had the Devil's own luck, and solved this prob- 
lem before I fairly got my wits upon it ? You look 
flushed with victory." 

*' I did not know you were to be called in, Mr. 
Mitchel," replied Mr. Barnes, ** and I am sorry if 
you shall be disappointed, but really, I think I can 
explain this affair. The truth is, it did not strike 
me as very complex." 

'* Hear that," exclaimed Mr. Mitchel. '* Not 
complex! The sudden vanishing of a thousand- 
pound note, before the very eyes, and under the 
very noses, as it were, of four persons, not com- 






A Frosty Morning 351 

plex ! The Devil certainly has sharpened your wits ; 
eh, Mr. Barnes ?" 

** Oh, I don't mind your chaffing. Let me ex- 
plain why I considered this case simple. You will 
agree that the note was either mislaid or stolen ? " 

** Logical deduction number one," cried Mr. 
Mitchel, turning down a finger of the right hand. 

** It was not mislaid, or we would have found it. 
Therefore it was stolen." 

A doubtful point, Mr. Barnes," said Mr. Mitchel, 

but we will give you the benefit of the doubt, and 
call it logical deduction number two." He turned 
down another finger. 

" If stolen the note was taken by one of three 
persons," pursued the detective. 

** He leaves you out of it, Van Rawlston. Well, 
I suppose I must give you the benefit of the doubt 
this time. So there goes L. D. number three." He 
dropped another finger. 

** Of these three, one actually owned the note, 
and another had just heard of the inheritance of a 
large fortune. The third, therefore, comes under 
suspicion." 

** Illogical deduction number one," said Mr. 
Mitchel, sharply, as he turned down a finger of the 
left hand. 

** Why illogical ? " asked the detective. 

** First, people have been known to steal their 
own goods; second, rich men are often thieves. 
Mr. Lumley, being in love with the owner of the 
note, was as unlikely to steal it as she was herself." 



352 A Frosty Morning 

'* Suppose that he had stolen it before he heard 
that his sweetheart was to inherit it ? " 

*' In that case, of course, he may have desired to 
return it, and yet not have had the opportunity." 

** Such was probably the fact. That he stole the , 
note I am reasonably certain." 

** How did he get it out of this room ? " asked 
Mr. Van Rawlston. 

** He must have hidden it elsewhere than in his 
pockets," said Mr. Barnes. ** You overlooked the 
fact, Mr. Van Rawlston, that you cannot thoroughly 
search a man in the presence of a lady." 

** Good point," exclaimed Mr. Mitchel. ** You 
have your wits about you to-day, Mr. Barnes. Now 
tell us what you have learned in corroboration of 
your theory." 

** Lumley is in love with Miss Hetheridge. Up 
to a few hours ago, he was a clerk, upon a salary 
not sufficient to permit him to marry. Curiously 
enough, for one would hardly have thought him so 
foolish, when he left this house he went direct to 
his employer and resigned his position. Next, I 
traced him to a business agency, where he obtained 
an option to purchase a partnership in a good con- 
cern, agreeing to pay five thousand dollars for the 
same." 

** Five thousand dollars! About one thousand 
pounds," said Mr. Mitchel, thoughtfully. 

** The scoundrel!" cried Mr. Van Rawlston. 
** Undoubtedly he is the thief. I trust you have 
arrested him, Mr. Barnes ? " 



A Frosty Morning 353 

** No. He left the city by a train leaving the 
Grand Central an hour ago/* 

** Track him, Mr. Barnes. Track him to the end 
of the earth if necessary. Spare no money. I '11 
pay the expense." Mr. Van Rawlston was excited. 

" I do not know his destination," said the detec- 
tive, " but, fortunately, the train is a * local,' and he 
cannot go far on it. I will do my best to catch up 
with him. But no time is to be lost." 

As he hurried out, Mr. Mitchel shouted after him : 

** Luck, and the Devil go with you, Mr. Barnes." 
Then, turning to Mr. Van Rawlston, he continued: 
'* After all, shrewd detective though he be, Mr. 
Barnes may be on the wrong scent. The note 
may still be in this house. I do not like to say in 
this room, after your thorough search. Still, if it 
could be managed, without the knowledge of Eggle- 
ston and Miss Hetheridge, I would like to remain 
here to-night." 

'* You wish to make a search yourself, eh ? Very 
good. I will arrange it. By the way, I should tell 
you that there is to be an auction here to-morrow. 
Eggleston had arranged a sale of his library before 
his sudden death, and as the date was fixed and the 
catalogues sent to all possible buyers, we have 
thought best to allow the sale to proceed. This 
being the library, you will see the necessity for set- 
tling this mystery before to-morrow, if possible." 

** A crowd coming here to-morrow ? Excellent. 

Nothing could be better. Rest easy. Van Rawlston. 

If Barnes does not recover the bank-note, I will," 
23 



354 A Frosty Morning 

It was already nine o'clock in the evening, and 
Mr. Van Rawlston decided to go to his own home. 
Upon inquiry he learned that Eggleston was not in 
the house, and that Miss Hetheridge was in her 
room. He dismissed the servant, and locked Mr. 
Mitchel in the library. Next he went up-stairs to 
Miss Hetheridge, told her that he had thought best 
to lock the library door, and bade her good-night. 
Passing out to the street, he handed the door-key 
to Mr. Mitchel through the front window. 

Left thus alone in a strange house, Mr. Mitchel 
dropped into an easy chair and began to analyze the 
situation. He did not light the gas, as that would 
have betrayed his presence, but the glowing grate- 
fire shed light enough for him to see about him. 

Mr. Eggleston had amassed a great collection of 
books, for the library was a long room occupying 
the whole of one side of the house, the parlors being 
on the opposite side of the hallway. Windows in 
front overlooked the street, and at the back opened 
upon a small yard. Just below these back windows 
extended a shed, the roof of an extension, which 
served as a laundry. 

Mr. Mitchel went over in his mind the incidents 
which had been related to him, and two of his con- 
clusions are worthy of note here : 

** Barnes argues,'* thought he, " that Lumley 
may have taken the bank-note before he knew that 
it had been bequeathed to his sweetheart. But the 
same holds good with the girl herself, and might 
well explain her stealing what was really her own 



A Frosty Morning 355 

property. That is one point worth bearing in mind, 
but the best of all is my scheme for finding the note 
itself. Why should I trouble myself with a search 
which might occupy me all night, when by waiting 
I may see the thief take the note from its present 
hiding-place, always supposing that it is in this room? 
Decidedly, patience is a virtue in this instance, and 
I have only to' wait.** 

A couple of hours later, Mr. Mitchel started up 
from a slight doze, and realized that he had been 
disturbed, though at first he could not tell by what. 

Then he heard a sound which indicated that some- 
one was fitting a key into the lock. Perhaps the 
thief was coming ! This thought awakened him to 
his full faculties, and he quickly hid among the folds 
of some heavy draperies which served upon occasion 
to divide the room into two apartments. The door 
opened, and he heard the stealthy tread of soft foot- 
steps, though at first the figure of the intruder was 
hidden from his view by the draperies which sur- 
rounded him. In a few moments his suspense was 
at an end. A young woman, of girlish figure, 
passed by him and went over to the fireplace. She 
was in a dainty night-robe, her long black hair hang- 
ing in rich profusion down her back. She leaned 
against the mantel, and gazed into the fire without 
moving, for some minutes, and then turning sud- 
denly, crossed the room, going directly to one of 
the book-shelves. Here she paused, then took 
down several books which she placed upon a chair 
near by. Her back was towards Mr. Mitchel, but 



356 A Frosty Morning 

he could see her reach into the recess with her arm, 
which was bared by the act, the loose sleeve of her 
gown falling aside. Then there was a clicking 
sound just perceptible to the ear, and Mr. Mitchel 
muttered to himself: 

** A secret closet, with a spring catch.*' 

In another moment, the girl was replacing the 
books, and, this done, she hurried from the library, 
locking the door after her. Mr. Mitchel emerged 
from his hiding-place, and, going to the shelf where 
the girl had been, removed the books and searched 
for the spring which would unlock the secret com- 
partment. It was not easily found, but Mr. Mitchel 
was a patient and persistent man, and after nearly 
an hour discovered the way of removing a sliding 
panel, and took an envelope from the recess behind. 
Carrying this to the fireplace, he dropped to his 
knees, and withdrawing its contents, held in his 
hand a Bank of England note for one thousand 
pounds. He looked at it, smiled, and said in a low 
tone: 

** And Mr. Barnes was so certain that he would 
catch the thief! ** Then he smiled again, replaced 
the books on the shelf, decided that the large sofa 
might serve as a comfortable bed, and so went to 
sleep. 

He was awakened early, by a sense of cold. 
Starting up, for a moment dazed by his unfamiliar 
surroundings, he gazed first at the gray ashes of the 
dead fire in the grate, and then looked towards the 
windows thickly covered with frost, and shivered. 



A Frosty Morning 357 

Remembering where he was, he threw his arms 
about, and walked up and down the long room to 
start his blood moving, and induce a little warmth. 
Presently he went to the back windows and looked 
at the beautiful frosting, which resembled long fern 
leaves. Suddenly he seemed unusually interested, 
and especially attracted to one of the panes. He 
examined this closely, and taking a note-book from 
his pocket made a rapid sketch of the pattern on the 
glass. Then he raised the sash, looked out upon 
the shed, and emitted a low whistle. Next he 
stepped out through the window, went down on his 
hands and knees upon the tinned roof, and looked 
closely at something which he saw there. Return- 
ing to the room, one would have said that his next 
act was the most curious of all. He again opened 
the secret panel, and replaced the envelope contain- 
ing the bank-note. Then he went to the table 
where Mr. Van Rawlston claimed that the note had 
vanished, and he sat in the chair where Mr. Van 
Rawlston had been when he read the will. 

Several hours later when Mr. Van Rawlston came 
in, Mr. Mitchel was sitting in the same chair looking 
through a Bible. 

'' Well,** said Mr. Van Rawlston. '' How did 
you pass the night ? Did the thief pay you a 
visit?" 

*' I think so," replied Mr. Mitchel. 

** Then you know who took the note ?'* asked 
Mr. Van Rawlston, .eagerly. 

** Perhaps; I do not like to jump to conclusions. 



358 A Frosty Morning 

This is a magnificent Bible, Mr. Van Rawlston. Is 
it in the sale to-day ? If so, I think I will bid 
on it." 

** Oh, yes; it is to be sold," replied Mr. Vani 
Rawlston, testily. He thought Mr. Mitchel merely 
wished to change the subject, and at that moment 
he was more interested in bank-notes than in Bibles. 
He had no idea that Mr. Mitchel really coveted the 
Bible. But then he did not know that Mr. Mitchel 
collected books as well as gems. He was therefore 
much astonished, some hours later, when the auction 
was in progress, to find Mr. Mitchel not only bid- 
ding on the Bible, but bidding heavily. 

At first the bidding was spiritless, and the price 
rose slowly until Mr. Mitchel made an offer of five 
hundred dollars. After a moment's hesitation 
young Eggleston bid fifty dollars more, and it was 
seen that the contest was now between him and Mr. 
Mitchel. Bidding fifty dollars at a time the price 
rose to nine hundred dollars, when Eggleston re- 
marked : 

** I bid nine-fifty," then turned to Mr. Mitchel 
and added,** This is a family relic, sir, and I hope 
you will not raise me again." 

** This is an open sale, I believe," said Mr. Mitchel, 
bowing coldly. ** I offer a thousand dollars." 

** One thousand and fifty," added Eggleston, 
quickly. 

At this moment Mr. Barnes entered the room, 
accompanied by a short, young man, and Mr. 
Mitchells attention seemed attracted away from the 



A Frosty Morning 359 

Bible. The auctioneer noticing this, called him by 
name, and asked if he wished to bid again. 

** One moment, please," said Mr. Mitchel. 
** May I look again at the volume ?** 

It was passed to him, and he appeared to scru- 
tinize it closely, started slightly as though making 
a discovery, and handed it back, saying : 

** I have made a mistake. I supposed that this 
was a genuine Soncino, but I find that it is only a 
reprint.*' Then he turned to Eggleston with a 
curious smile, and said, ** You may have the family 
relic. I shall not bid against you." 

The auction over, the crowd dispersed, and when 
all strangers had departed, Mr. Mitchel nodded 
meaningly to Mr. Barnes, and approached young 
Eggleston, who was tying up the Bible in paper. 
Touching him upon the arm, he said very quietly : 

** Mr. Eggleston, I must ask the officer here to 
arrest you ! " 

Eggleston*s hands quivered over the knot, and he 
seemed too agitated to speak. The detective realiz- 
ing that Mr. Mitchel had solved the problem, quickly 
stepped closer to Eggleston. 

*' What does this mean ? " asked Mr. Van Rawl- 
ston. 

** Call Miss Hetheridge, and I will explain," said 
Mr. Mitchel. 

** No, no! Not before her!" cried Eggleston, 
breaking down completely. ** I confess! I loved 
Alice, and wished to make it impossible for her to 
marry Lumley. The note is here! Here, in the 



360 A Frosty Morning 

Bible. I stole it, and hid it there ! * * With nervous 
fingers he tore off the wrappings, and rapidly turn- 
ing the pages searched for the note. ** Heavens! 
It is not here! " He looked at Mr. Mitchel inquir- 
ingly. 

** No; it is not there. You paid too much for 
that Bible. Mr. Van Rawlston, I prefer to have the 
lady called, if you please.'' 

Mr. Van Rawlston left the room, and Mr. Mitchel 
addressed Mr. Barnes. 

** By the way, Barnes, have you abandoned your 
theory ? ' ' 

** I suppose I must now, though I had not up to 
a moment ago. I found Mr. Lumley, and accused 
him of the theft. He would offer no explanation, 
but willingly agreed to return with me." 

** We seem to have arrived just in time," said Mr. 
Lumley, quietly. 

** In the very nick of time, as you shall hear," 
said Mr. Mitchel. ** Ah, here is Miss Hetheridge. 
Will you be seated, please. Miss Hetheridge." He 
bowed courteously as the young woman sat down, 
and then proceeded. 

** I did not think that the bank-note had been re- 
moved from this room. Why ? Because I argued 
that the theft and the hiding must have necessarily 
occupied but a moment; a chosen moment when 
the attention of all three others was attracted away 
from the table where it lay. The one chance was 
that Miss Hetheridge may have hidden it in the 
folds of her gown. The men's pockets seemed too 



A Frosty Morning 361 

inaccessible. I agreed with Mr. Barnes, that the 
lady would scarcely steal what was her own, though 
• even that was possible if she did not know that it 
was to be hers. For a similar reason, I did not sus- 
pect Mr. Lumley, and thus by elimination there was , 
but one person left upon whom to fasten suspicion. 
I supposed he would return here during the night to 
recover the bank-note, and I remained in this room 
to watch for him.'* 

At this Miss Hetheridge made a movement of her 
lips as though about to speak, but no words escaped, 
and she shrank back in her chair. 

** During the night,'* proceeded Mr. Mitchel, 
** Miss Hetheridge came into this room, and hid 
something. After she had left the room, relocking 
the door with a duplicate key, I found what she had 
hidden. It was a one thousand-pound note." 

There was silence for a moment, then Miss Heth- 
eridge cried out : 

** I can explain! '* 

** That is why I sent for you," said Mr. Mitchel.| 

** The note was my own,** said the girl, speaking 
rapidly, ** but after the disappearance of the other, 
I was afraid to have it in my room lest it be found, 
and seem to inculpate me. I only received it a few 
days before my dear uncle died. He told me that 
his brother William had sent it as a present to my 
mother upon her marriage, but as he had doubted 
the good intentions of my father, he had kept the 
matter a secret. As both my parents died, he had 
held the note in trust for me. He did not invest it, 



362 A Frosty Morning 

because he thought that his own fortune would be 
an ample legacy to leave me. A short time before 
he died, I passed my twenty-first birthday, and he 
gave me the note. That is the whole truth." 

** To which I can testify,*' interjected Mr. Lum- 
ley. ** And I may now add that Miss Hethe- 
ridge had not only promised to be my wife, but 
she offered me the use of her money to buy the 
partnership, which to Mr. Barnes seemed such a 
suspicious act." 

** I have only to explain then," continued Mr. 
Mitchel, ** how it was that I decided that Miss 
Hetheridge was not the thief. This morning I 
found heavy frost on the window-panes. Upon 
one, however, I noticed a circular, transparent spot, 
where the pattern of the frosting had been obliter- 
ated. Instantly I comprehended what had occurred. 
The thief, the real thief, had come in the night, or 
rather in the morning, for I know almost the hour. 
He stood upon the shed outside, and melted the 
frost by breathing upon the pane, with his mouth 
close to the glass. Thus making a peep-hole, he 
must have seen me asleep on the sofa, and so knew 
that it would be useless for him to attempt an en- 
trance. As the person who did this trick stood 
upon the shed, I had but to measure the distance 
from the shed to his peep-hole to be able to guess 
his height, which I estimated to be more than six 
feet. Next, there was some very interesting evi- 
dence in the frost on the tin roof. The marks made 
by the man's feet, or his heels rather, for the frost 



A Frosty Morning 363 

was so light that only the impressions of the nails 
in the heels would show. My own made complete 
little horseshoe-shaped marks composed of dots. 
But those of my predecessor were scarcely more 
than half a curve, which proved that he walks on 
the side of his foot, thus slightly lifting the oppo- 
site side from the ground, or roof, as it was in this 
instance. This much decided me that Miss Hether- 
idge was not the thief, and I returned her bank-note 
to the place where she had hidden it. Then I sat 
at the table where the will was read, and studied 
the situation. The easiest way to hide the note 
quickly seemed to be to sHp it into the Bible which 
stood on the table. Therefore I was not surprised 
when I found the bank-note which I have here." 

He drew forth the bank-note from his pocket and 
handed it to Mr. Van Rawlston, who asked : 

But why, then, did you try to buy the Bible ? " 
I had no idea of doing so. You forget that I 
had not seen Mr. Lumley. He, too, might have 
been six feet high, and he, too, might have had the 
habit of walking on the side of his heel, as I quickly 
observed that Mr. Eggleston does. With only one 
of the men before me I decided to run up the price 
of the Bible, knowing that if he were guilty he would 
bid over me. Mr. Eggleston followed my lead, and 
I was almost sure of his guilt, when he made the 
remark that he was buying a family relic. It was a 
possible truth, and I was obliged to go on bidding, 
to see how anxious he was to possess the volume. 
Then, as I said awhile ago, Mr. Lumley arrived in 



4< 



4 * 



364 A Frosty Morning 

the nick of time. One glance at his short stature, 
and I was ready to let the Bible go/' 

** You said you could almost tell the hour at 
which this man peeped through the window," said 
Mr. Barnes. 

** Ah, I see ! You wish me to teach you tricks in 
your own trade, eh ? Well, frost forms on a window- 
pane when the thermometer is near or below 
thirty-two. On the wall here I found a recording 
thermometer, which discloses the fact that at three 
o'clock this morning the temperature was as high as 
forty-five, while at four it was below thirty. Frost 
began to form between those hours. At five it was 
so cold, twenty degrees, that I awoke. Our man 
must have come between half-past four and five. 
Had he come before then, his peep-hole would have 
been fully covered again with frost, whereas it was 
but thinly iced over, the mere freezing of the water 
of the melted frost, there being no design, or pat- 
tern, as there was over every other part of the 
window-pane. So I may offer you a new version 
of an old saw, and say that, * Frost shows which way 
a thief goes. 



t tf 



XII 

A SHADOW OF PROOF 
(Letter from Mr, Barnes to Mr, Mitchel) 



4< 



My dear Mr. Mitchel : — 
I am leaving town in connection with a matter of 
considerable importance, and am thus compelled to 
abandon a little mystery unsolved. It is not a very 
serious case, yet it presents certain unique features 
which I fancy would make it attractive to you. I 
therefore take the liberty of relating to you the 
occurrence as it was told to me by the person who 
sought my aid, as well as such steps as have been 
taken by me towards its elucidation. I must con- 
fess, however, at the outset, that though I have 
learned some things, the knowledge thus gained 
appears to me to complicate the affair, rather than 
otherwise. 

" Two days ago a district messenger boy brought 
me a summons, on scented paper. The writer was 
a woman, who explained that she wished to intrust 
to me the investigation of *a great mystery involving 
the honesty of one or two of our society leaders.' I 
was urged to call without loss of time, and was at 
the Madison Avenue mansion within an hour. 

365 



366 A Shadow of Proof 

** In response to my card, I was shown up to the 
lady's boudoir, where I found Mrs. Upton eager to 
unfold her story, which evidently to her mind was 
of paramount consequence. I accepted an invitation 
to be seated, and she began at once, assuming a low 
tone, which was almost a whisper, as though she 
imagined that when talking with a detective the ut- 
most stealth and secrecy were essential. 

** * Mr. Barnes,* she began, * this affair is simply 
awful. I have been robbed, and the thief is a 
woman of my own social status. I am horrified to 
discover that one of my set could stoop so low as 
to steal. And then the thing itself was such a trifle. 
A diamond stud, worth two hundred dollars at the 
outside valuation. What do you think of it ? * 

** Observe that she had told me little enough be- 
fore asking for an opinion. She seemed to be a 
woman of mediocre mental grasp, though perhaps as 
bright as most of the butterflies that flit about the 
fashionable ballrooms. I decided to treat her as 
though she were really very shrewd, and by a little 
flattery I hoped perhaps to learn more than she 
might otherwise be willing to confide to a detective, 
a class of beings whom she too evidently looked 
upon as necessary evils. I answered her in about 
these words : 

** * Why, Mrs. Upton,* said I, * if you really know 
the thief, and if, as you say, she is a society woman 
and rich, it would seem to be possibly a case of 
kleptomania. ' 

Kleptomania ? * she exclaimed. * Klepto- 



1 1 « 



A Shadow of Proof 367 

mania ? Rubbish ! That is the excuse all rich 
women give for what I call plain stealing. But your 
idea is not new to me. I believe in being perfectly 
just in these matters. I would not harm a flea, un- 
less he had bitten me ; but when he does bite me, I 
kill him. There are no half-way measures that will 
suit me. No, Mr. Barnes, there is to be no com- 
promise in this case. I will not condone theft, even 
if the thief be respectable and rich. And as for 
kleptomania, as I *ve said before, I 've looked that 
up. I find it is a sort of insanity. Now there is no 
insanity in this case. Quite the contrary, I assure 
you.* 

** * You are very keen in your perceptions, Mrs. 
Upton,* I ventured. * If we set aside the klepto- 
mania idea, why, then, do you imagine a rich woman 
would steal a thing of such little value ? ' 

** * Spite! * she snapped back without a moment's 
hesitation. * Spite, Mr. Barnes. Let that be your 
cue. But I must tell you just how this happened. 
You see, I hold a somewhat influential position in 
the society of '* The Daughters of the Revolution,*' 
and because I do have some influence, I am con- 
stantly bothered by people who could not become 
members rightfully, if their titles were closely scru- 
tinized ; so they undertake to gain their end through 
me. They grow suddenly attentive, effusive, gush- 
ing. I am their '* dearest friend,** they think me 
** so charming,*' ** so beautiful," ** so delightfully 
cosmopolitan and yet so exclusive.** To hear them 
talk you would be persuaded that I belong to both 



368 A Shadow of Proof 

Belgravia and Bohemia in the same moment. But 
I usually see through their wiles, and long before 
they broach the subject I say to myself, ** My dear 
madame, you want one of our society badges to pin 
on your breast ; that is what you are after. * * Then 
at last comes the note asking fora ** confidential in- * 
terview,** and when I grant it a lot of documents 
are shown to me which are meant to uphold the 
candidate's claim to membership. But there is 
always the little flaw, the bar sinister as it were, 
which they hope to override through influence; 
through my influence, which I may state, they 
never get. * 

** * Ah, then, this lady, whom you suspect of 
taking your stud, had hoped to join your society ? ' 

** * I cannot answer that with a single word. I 
cannot say either yes or no. You see, there are two 
women. * 

'* * Oh, I thought you knew the thief ? * 

" * So I do. I know it is one of two women. If 
I knew exactly which, of course I should not need 
your help. But you have interrupted my story. 
Where was I ? * 

** She evidently thought me an ass. 

** * Oh, yes,** she resumed. * I was telling you 
how people bother me to get into our society. Well, 
a woman of that kind has been fairly running after 
me all winter. She is a Mrs. Merivale. She was 
born an Ogden, and some of the Ogden branch are 
fully entitled to membership. But, unfortunately 
for her, she traces back to the brother of the Revo- 



A Shadow of Proof 369 

lutionary Ogden, and her ancestor, far from fighting 
for our independence, is said to have made quite a 
tidy fortune by observing a shrewd neutrality ; some- 
times crying for England and sometimes the reverse, 
according to the company present. Of course, that 
is not Mrs. Merivale's fault; it all happened too 
long ago for her to have had any influence. But, 
you see, she is not in the direct line, and we only 
recognize the direct line. Heavens! if we did not, 
who knows where we would end ? No, collateral 
branches are out of it, so far as our society is con- 
cerned, and I told her so plainly this morning. Of 
course, you can see how she might be spiteful about 
it. It was a great disappointment to her. * 

'* * Then you think this Mrs. Merivale took your 
stud just to annoy you ? ' 

'* ' Dear me; how stupid you are! Did I not tell 
you there were two women ? The other is Mrs. 
Ogden Beaumont. You see she clings to the family 
name. She also was an Ogden, and in the line. 
She is a member, and she had considerable influence 
in our society at one time. But she lost it by just 
such schemes as she is trying to persuade me into. 
She manoeuvred till she had two or three of her 
friends elected, who have even less claim than her 
cousin, Mrs. Merivale. Finally, it got so that if 
she were to propose a name, the Membership Com- 
mittee would be suspicious at once. Now she wants 
Mrs. Merivale elected, and according to her little 
plan I was to be the cat's paw. The scheming of 
those two women to get into my good graces has 



370 A Shadow of Proof 

been a source of amusement to me all winter, and 
the climax came this morning, when I told them 
both very frankly that I had seen through them 
from the start. Mrs. Merivale was horribly disap- 
pointed, but she behaved like a lady. I must admit 
that, though she said some bitter things, things she 
will be sorry for, I assure you. But Mrs. Beaumont 
just lost all control of her temper. She stormed 
and raged, and said vile things, all of which had as 
little effect on me as a pea-shooter would against the 
rock of Gibraltar. So the two women went off, and 
in less than five minutes I discovered that my 
diamond stud had gone with them.' 

Gone with them ? Of that you are sure ? * 
Of course I am sure. Do you suppose I 
would make such a charge without knowing that 
I am in the right ? Come with me, and I will con- 
vince you.' 

** She led the way into a little anteroom next to 
her boudoir. It was not more than eight feet square, 
and not crowded with furniture. The floor of hard- 
wood, covered by one large silk rug, afforded little 
opportunity to lose anything by dropping it. There 
were four chairs, a small reading-lounge, a revolving 
case filled with novels, a handsome piano-lamp, and 
a little tea-table with all requisites for making tea. 

** * This is my little den where I retire when I am 
wearied by people and things,' continued Mrs. Up- 
ton. * Here I am surrounded by my friends, the 
people that our best writers have created. I love 
my books, and I get as fond of the characters a!^ 



<< < 
it * 



A Shadow of Proof 371 

though they were all living ; more, I think, because 
I do not come into actual contact with them. I can 
admire the nice people, and the mean ones may be 
as mean as they like without affecting me. Well, I 
was lying here reading when these women were 
announced, and as I was too comfortable to get up 
and dress, I thought I would have them up and ex- 
cuse my toilet on the plea of indisposition. ** Indis- 
posed ** is always a useful word; indisposed to be 
bothered by the visitors, you know, — the nicest of 
all the white lies. So they came up here and sat 
around my lounge and began to bring their all- 
winter's scheme to a climax. After awhile, when I 
saw that the time had arrived to disillusionize these 
women, I dismissed my headache and got up to have 
a frank talk with them. As I arose my diamond 
stud dropped from the collar of my waist which I 
had opened, and I picked it up and placed it on that 
little tea-table. Then we had our little scene. It 
was as good as a play. I kept my temper, as a hostess 
always must, but my guests were not so self-pos- 
sessed, and, as I have said, Mrs. Merivale said a few 
things, and Mrs. Beaumont a great many more, that 
would not sound pretty coming out of a phonograph. 
Then they left, and I walked to my window and saw 
them jump into their carriage, Mrs. Beaumont slam- 
ming the door herself with a bang that must have 
weakened the hinges. That is all, except that I 
immediately remembered my stud and came here for 
it. It was gone.* 

** * I suppose, of course, you have searched this 



372 A Shadow of Proof 

room, under the possibility of its having dropped to 
the floor ? * I inquired. 

" ' Yes, indeed,* she answered. * I had my own 
maid up, and superintended the search myself. But 
I took the precaution to see that nothing should be 
removed from the room. I had the door closed, and 
then we took up the rug carefully and shook it. 
Nothing fell from it, and the stud was not on the 
floor or elsewhere. You can see yourself that it 
cannot be a difficult matter to search this little room 
thoroughly. It has been done without success, but 
if you like you may search again. I assure you that 
nothing has been taken from the room. If one of 
those two women has not taken that stud, you may 
count me an idiot. ' 

" * You have admitted that your maid was in this 
room, and that brings another possibility into the 
case,* I said. 

** * You mean that Janet might have taken it ? 
Not at all a possibility. In the first place she is de- 
voted to me, as my people adopted her when she 
was but a child, and she has been personally in my 
service for more than ten years. No, Janet would 
not do such a thing, but even if she would, she could 
not have done so. I took precautions. ' 
What precautions ? ' I asked. 
Why, she would need one hand to pick it up, 
and I not only kept both of her hands occupied, but 
I did not permit her to stoop to the floor. * 

*' ' How could you keep her hands always occu- 
pied ? * said I. 

4. 



<< < 
<< < 



A Shadow of Proof 373 

** * Why, most of the time she was handling the 
broom, and that requires two hands. It was only 
when she shook the rug and moved the sofa that 
* her hands were otherwise occupied. I myself did 
the searching, and I am absolutely certain that Janet 
had not the least opportunity to pick up so much 
as a pin. ' 

** * And you think that one of your friends would 
do what you would not attribute to your maid ? * 

" ' Assuredly. In the first place these women 
are not friends of mine ; after to-day, I should rather 
say enemies. Moreover, I would trust Janet as I 
would few of my real friends. You see I have not 
tested all my friends, and I have tested Janet. She 
has had temptation enough and opportunity enough 
to rob me a thousand times over, were she so dis- 
posed. No, I tell you one of those two women has 
that diamond stud. * 

** ' Would you mind saying which one you are the 
more inclined to suspect ? ' I asked. 

*' * Why, that is a hard question. Sometimes I 
think one, and then again the other. Mrs. Beau- 
mont showed so much venom that I can see more 
reason to suspect her if I decide from motive alone. 
It is really her scheme to get her cousin into the 
society. It is she who feels most thwarted, because 
of her lost influence. On the other hand, I cannot 
remember seeing her within reach of the tea-table, 
while Mrs. Merivale was near it all the time. So 
Mrs. Merivale had the opportunity, while the incen- 
tive through temper was with Mrs. Beaumont. ' 



374 A Shadow of Proof 

" This was the little problem which I was asked 
to solve, and I think that you will comprehend my 
meaning when I say that it was intricate because of 
its very simplicity. Let me enumerate the facts so 
as to get a sort of bird's-eye view of the situation. 

** First, we have two women present when the 
missing property is placed on a table accessible to at 
least one, and possibly to both. Second, a small 
room, with floor devoid of cracks, and covered by a 
rug easily moved and shaken. Third, only a few 
pieces of simple furniture in the room. Fourth, the 
visitors depart, and the property is missed. Fifth, 
a search without discovery, a third possible thief 
entering upon the scene. 

** We have apparently but four solutions; either 
one of the three women took the stud, or else the 
alleged loser lies. I omit the possibility that the 
stud was merely mislaid or accidentally out of sight 
in the room ; this, because I personally conducted a 
search, which was so systematic as to make it abso- 
lutely assured that the stud was not in the room 
when I looked for it. 

*' Of the four theories, then, I preferred first to 
consider that one which the mistress declared to be 
ridiculous. I insisted upon seeing and catechising 
the maid Janet, thereby deepening madame's doubts 
as to my ability. After talking with this girl for 
half an hour, I felt so convinced of her integrity that 
I mentally eliminated her from the case. Next in 
order we had the two visitors, one of whom, accord- 
ing to Mrs. Upton, had a motive while the other 



A Shadow of Proof 375 

had the opportunity. The first postulate always is 
that the guilty person must have both opportunity 
and motive, unless indeed we are dealing with an 
insane person, when motive may be eliminated, 
though frequently the insane are actuated by quite 
intelligible motives. Thus we seemed obliged either 
to discover that Mrs. Beaumont had an opportunity 
to obtain possession of the stud, or else that Mrs. 
Merivale had a motive, except that the latter may 
have simply acted upon the opportunity without 
motive, in which case we would be dealing with the 
kleptomaniac. After due consideration I decided 
to call separately upon these two ladies, and went to 
Mrs. Merivale first. 

** She courteously received me, and as soon as I 
met her I was pleasantly impressed by her person- 
ality. After five minutes* talk I was certain that if 
she took the stud, it was, after all, the act of a 
kleptomaniac, and that no petty motive of revenge 
would have tempted this high-born, beautiful gentle- 
woman to descend to theft. She asked me the ob- 
ject of my call, and looked at me so frankly that 
there was no chance for subterfuge. Consequently 
I openly declared the purpose of my visit. 

" ' Madame,* said I, * I regret very much the em- 
barrassing nature of my errand. But you visited 
Mrs. Upton this morning, I believe ? ' 

** ' I did, in company with my cousin, Mrs. Beau- 
mont.* 

*' * Did you happen to notice that while you were 
there she placed a diamond stud on the tea-table ? ' 



376 A Shadow of Proof 



f< < 



Yes; I remember the circumstance perfectly, 
because of the impression which it made upon me.* 

*' * Would you mind telling me what that impres- 
sion was ? ' 

** ' Why, simply that it was very discourteous, or 
at least very untidy. When we were shown to her 
room, she was lying down, with the collar of her 
waist open. After a while she arose, the stud 
dropped to the floor, and she picked it up and 
placed it on the little tea-table. I thought that it 
would have shown a greater sense of propriety if she 
had replaced it and fastened her collar. ' 

" ' Do you recall whether the stud was still on the 
table when you left ? * 

** * Why, no! How should I ? I paid no further 
attention to it whatever. * Then as a new idea en- 
tered her mind, her eyes flashed, and the color rose 
in her cheeks as she said to me sharply : 

" ' You cannot mean that Mrs. Upton dares to 
intimate ' 

'* * She intimated nothing, * I hastened to interject. 
' Immediately after your departure the stud was 
missed, and the most thorough search has failed to 
discover it. In these circumstances Mrs. Upton 
sought my aid, and I drew from her the details of 
her morning's experiences.* 

*' * I imagine you had little difficulty in draw- 
ing forth the details.* She said this with a 
sneer, which made me understand how this woman 
could say unpleasant things without forgetting her 
dignity. 



A Shadow of Proof 377 



<< < 



I assure you,' I hastened to add, * Mrs. Upton 
knows nothing of my visit here. I have on my own 
responsibility called with the idea that if I could ob- 
tain an account of your visit from yourself, there 
might be some slight difference in the two stories 
which would show me how to proceed. * 

'* ' I know no more than I have told you, and as 
I am far from being interested in Mrs. Upton's lost 
baubles, I must beg you to excuse me from further 
discussion of the subject.' 

'* I was dismissed. It was courteously, done, but 
done nevertheless. I could do nothing but take 
leave. Still I made one venture, — 

** ' I must ask your pardon for intruding, but, as 
I have said, I thought you might be able to supply 
a missing detail. For example, do you recall whether 
Mrs. Upton's maid entered the room while you were 
there ? ' 

'* ' I am sorry, Mr. Barnes,' said she in courteous 
but firm tones, * but I must decline to pursue this 
conversation further.' 

** That was all. I had seen one of the suspected 
persons, and learned nothing. Still an interview of 
this character is bound to leave an impression, and 
in this case the impression was very strongly in favor 
of Mrs. Merivale. Without irrefutable proof I could 
not believe that this dignified, frank woman had 
stolen the stud. For the time at least I also dis- 
missed all theories of kleptomania. 

** Thus my attention was directed toward the 
woman who had a motive, but was reported to have 



378 A Shadow of Proof 

lacked the opportunity. I called at once upon Mrs. 
Beaumont. 

'* This lady is of quite a different mould from her 
cousin. Older by at least ten years, she is still 
handsome, her beauty being, however, physical in 
character only. She lacks the self-poise and dignity 
which renders Mrs. Merivale's beauty so much more 
attractive. Moreover, she is voluble, where the 
other is reserved, a trait which I welcomed as af- 
fording me more opportunity to gain some possible 
clue to truth. 

*' She came into her reception-room where I 
awaited her, evidently brimful of curiosity. I had 
sent in my card, and it seems she had heard of me 
in connection with that somewhat famous wager of 
yours. 

** * Mr. Barnes, the detective, I believe,* she said 
as she entered. 

** * At your service, Madame,* I replied. * May 
I have a few minutes* conversation with you upon a 
trifling, yet quite puzzling matter ? ' 

** * Why, certainly,' said she, * but don*t keep me 
in suspense. I am burning with curiosity to know 
why a detective should call on me. * 

*' I thought that this woman might be caught by 
a sudden attack, and made the venture. 

** ' A diamond stud was stolen from Mrs. Upton 
this morning, while you were there ! * I said, watch- 
ing her closely. She did not flinch, but seemed 
honestly not to comprehend the suggestiveness of 
my words. 



A Shadow of Proof 379 



<< < 
< 4 < 



I do not understand you/ said she. 
It is not a serious matter, Madame, but Mrs. 
Upton placed a diamond stud on her tea-table while 
you and Mrs. Merivale were with her, and missed it 
a moment after you had left. Therefore * 

*' This was plain enough, and she grasped the 
truth at a flash. In an instant she gave me evidence 
of that temper against which I had been warned by 
Mrs. Upton. 

*' ' You dare to insinuate that I took her miser- 
able little stud ? I wish my husband were at home ; 
I would have you horsewhipped. No, I would n*t 
either. It is not you who suspect me, it is that 
self-sufficient she-devil, Mrs. Upton. So she ac- 
cuses me of being a thief, does she ? Well, mark 
me well, Mr. Detective, I shall make her pay dearly 
for that insult. I have stood enough of that 
woman's impertinent superciliousness. This is 
going too far. If she has a shadow of proof against 
me, she can meet me in open court. Do you under- , 
stand me ? Go back and tell Mrs. Upton, with my 
compliments, that she must either prove that I stole 
her stud, or else I will sue her for libel. I *11 let her 
see with whom she is fooling.* 

** * Really, Mrs. Beaumont,* said I as soon as I 
found a chance to speak, * you have rather gotten 
ahead of my intentions. I assure you that no ac- 
cusation has been made against you.* 

** * Indeed! ' said she, scornfully uplifting her 
nose. * And pray, then, why have you called ? 
Certainly Mrs. Upton cannot imagine that I would 



380 A Shadow of Proof 

be interested in the petty thieving that goes on in 
her house. ' 

** * The point is just this, Madame,' said I. ' The 
stud was placed on a tea-table while you were pres- 
ent. Mrs. Merivale has told me that she remem- 
bers this distinctly. When you had left, the stud 
was missed, and the most thorough search has been 
made, not once but twice, without finding it. In- 
deed, there is no place in the room where it could 
have been lost. According to the story of Mrs. 
Upton, the affair, trifling as it is, is a really puzzling 
problem. But I ventured to hope that either Mrs. 
Merivale or yourself might remember some incident 
which might give me a clue ; such, for example, as 
the entrance of one of the house servants. ' 

** ' That is nothing but a smooth story invented 
by yourself,* said she, * in order to pacify my right- 
eous indignation. But you cannot deceive me. 
Mrs. Upton has told you that I stole her stud, and 
you have come here to endeavor to prove it.* 

** * In justice to Mrs. Upton,* said I, ' I must state, 
on the contrary, that she very distinctly told me 
that you could have had no opportunity to take the 
stud, as you were not at any time near enough to 
the tea-table to touch it. * 

*' * If she told you that, it shows how little ob- 
servation she has. I don't at all object to admitting 
that I had the thing in my hand.' 

*' * You had it in your hand ! ' I exclaimed, sur- 
prised. 

Y^S, It happened in this way, Mrs, Upton 



<< < 



A Shadow of Proof 381 

received us with her collar unbuttoned, in the most 
slovenly fashion. After a while she got up from the 
lounge, where she was feigning a headache because 
too lazy to arrange her toilet before receiving guests. 
It was then that the stud fell to the floor. She 
picked it up and placed it on the table. When we 
were leaving she led the way out of the room, Mrs. 
Merivale following, and I leaving the room last. 
As I passed, I thoughtlessly picked up the stud and 
looked at it. I then put it back. I have a vague 
idea that it rolled off and fell to the floor, but I 
can't be sure.' 

** * That is singular,' said I; * for if it fell to the 
floor it should have been found.' 

*' * Undoubtedly. Very likely it has been found ; 
I should say, by one of the servants. You will 
never induce me to believe that Mrs. Upton took 
the trouble to search for that stud without help. 
She is too lazy by far. * 

** I thought it best to keep discreetly silent, pre- 
ferring not to mention the fact that the maid had 
been in the room. It being evident to my mind 
that this woman would adhere to this story, true or 
false, I deemed it prudent to at least appear to be- 
lieve her. 

** * I am much indebted to you, Madame,' said I. 
* You see that, after all, my visit has led me to the 
truth, for we know that the stud probably fell to 
the floor, and is therefore either still in the room, or 
else, as you suggest, one of the servants may have 
picked it up. ' 



382 A Shadow of Proof 



«< 4 



All that is very well, Mr. Barnes/ said she; 
' and you are very clever in shielding Mrs. Upton. 
But, as I said before, you do not deceive me. This 
matter is more serious than you imagine. That 
woman has worked systematically for two years to 
supplant me in our society, *' The Daughters of the 
Revolution.** Just now she fancies that she has 
triumphed over me; but in spite of that, she is jeal- 
ous of my influence with the members, and would 
go to any extreme to injure me socially. She well 
knows that I did not take her stud, but she is quit^ 
willing to allow this suspicion to drift out to the 
world, knowing that it would be difficult to prove 
my innocence of a charge so vaguely circulated, and 
that there might be some who would turn aside from 
me because of this shadow. Now this I shall not 
permit. If she does not prove her charge, I shall 
certainly sue her for libel, and have the whole matter 
cleared up in the open tribunal of the law. You 
may tell her this from me. There shall be no half- 
way measures. One thing more before you go. I 
must call my maid.* 

** She rang a bell, and a moment later her maid 
responded, and at her mistress's orders went up- 
stairs and brought down a jewel-case of large size. 
This, Mrs. Beaumont opened, and taking out the 
contents strewed them on the table. 

'* * There, do you see these ? ' said she with pride 
in her voice. * These are my jewels. Mrs. Upton 
perhaps is richer than I am, but I defy her to show 
such jewelry as I have. Some of these things are 



A Shadow of Proof 383 

two hundred years old. Here is a necklace which 
one of my ancestors wore at the first inauguration 
of Washington. Here is another which my grand- 
mother wore at the coronation of Queen Victoria. 
Here is an emerald ring, presented to my own 
mother by Napoleon. And you see what the others 
are. Nearly all have some history which adds to 
their intrinsic value. And with these in my posses- 
sion, to think that that woman would accuse me of 
stealing a common little diamond stud ! It makes 
my blood boil. But I have told you what course I 
shall pursue, and you may warn Mrs. Upton.' 

** This ended the interview. I had gained some 
information at least, for I had learned that Mrs. 
Beaumont did have the opportunity to take the 
stud, but, on the other hand, the motive for such 
an act seemed less tenable. She certainly would not 
take it for its value, and in view of her own magnifi- 
cent array of jewels, she would be less likely to 
imagine that she was giving Mrs. Upton any great 
annoyance by the 'petty theft. Then, too, her as- 
sertion that Mrs. Upton is systematically seeking to 
undermine her influence in their society connections, 
affords a possible reason for our last theory, that 
Mrs. Upton lied in declaring that the' stud had been 
stolen. Thus the matter rests, as I have had no 
opportunity to have another interview with Mrs. 
Upton. If you call on her, I am sure that you will 
be well received because of the fact that she knows 
all about your outwitting me in that wager matter. 
Trusting that you may care to give this little affair 



384 A Shadow of Proof 

some of your time and attention, and with the belief 

that you will certainly unravel the tangle if you do, 

I am 

" Very sincerely yours, 

" Jack Barnes." 

( Letter from Mr, Mitchel to Mr. Barnes) 

" My dear Barnes: — 

** I read your letter with considerable interest. 
As you very truly say, the case was intricate because 
of its simplicity. As you had followed up three 
theories with apparently the result that you were at 
least tentatively satisfied that neither held the key 
to the mystery, it seemed proper to take up the 
affair where you had left it, and to endeavor to learn 
whether or not Mrs. Upton had lied to you, and still 
had the stud in her own possession. For this and 
other reasons I decided to adopt your suggestion 
and call upon Mrs. Upton. I did so, and, as you 
surmised, was cordially received. She met me first 
in her parlor, and I at once stated to her the object 
of my visit. 

** * Mrs. Upton,' said I, * you are perhaps aware 
that I have a friendly regard for Mr. Barnes, the 
detective, ever since the affair of my little wager. 
I have received a letter from him this morning in 
which he states that an important criminal case com- 
pels him suddenly to leave the city; he has also 
given me a succinct statement of the few facts in re- 
lation to the loss of your stud, and has asked me to 
interest myself in the solution of this little mystery.*' 



A Shadow of Proof 385 



tit 



And you mean to do it ? * she exclaimed, im- 
pulsively. * Why, how delightful ! Of course you 
will find out all about it. To think that you, Mr. 
Mitchel, the man who outwitted Mr. Barnes, will 
take up my case ! I am honored, I assure you. * 

*' I give you her exact words, though her flattery 
was somewhat embarrassing. In the course of the 
conversation she referred to you in terms which I 
repeat, though I do not at all share her poor esti- 
mate of your ability. 

** ' Of course,* said I, ' I am not a detective, yet 
I do take a trifling interest in these little problems. 
1 find it mentally exhilarating to measure minds, as 
it were, with these wrong-doers. Thus far I have 
generally been successful, which, however, only 
proves my claim that those who stoop to crime are 
not really ever sound mentally, and consequently, 
either from too little or from too much care, some 
slight detail is overlooked, which, once compre- 
hended by the investigator, leads unerringly to the 
criminal. * 

** * Ah, how delightfully you talk! ' said she. ' I 
am so glad you have taken this up, for, do you 
know, I rather thought Mr. Barnes a little dull, not 
to say stupid. Why, he actually suggested that my 
maid took the stud ! * 

** Here, I thought, was an opportune moment to 
follow the method which you employed with Mrs. 
Beaumont, and by a sudden, unexpected accusation, 
to endeavor to surprise the truth from her. I said : 
Oh, Mr. Barnes has given up that idea now, 



Hi 

»5 



386 A Shadow of Proof 

and has almost adopted one even more startling. 
He thinks that perhaps you took the stud yourself.*' 

** I had expected from your estimate of this 
woman's character, which you recall was not very 
flattering to her mental calibre, that if indeed it 
were true that she had concocted this little scheme 
to injure a society rival, thus taken unawares she 
would feign great indignation. On the contrary, 
she laughed so heartily, and spoke of your theory so 
lightly that I was practically convinced that again 
we were on the wrong scent. All she said by way 
of comment was : 

** * Well, if that is the result of his investigation, 
he is a bigger fool than I took him to be. It is cer- 
tain, therefore, that he will never discover the truth, 
and so I am doubly glad that he has gone out of 
town, and that you have consented to take his place. ' 

** * You must not so quickly condemn Mr. Barnes,' 
said I, feeling bound to defend you. * He has really 
worked in this matter quite systematically, and this 
final theory has been reached by exclusion.' 

** * I do not understand,* said she, puzzled. 

** * Well, first he accepted your assurance that the 
maid Janet was not guilty because she had no op- 
portunity. Then he called upon Mrs. Merivale, and 
from his interview with her judged that she too 
must be innocent, a view in which I must concur 
after reading his report of what passed. Then he 
called upon Mrs. Beaumont, and though she ad- 
mitted, what you did not yourself observe, that she 
actually took the stud in her hand when leaving the 



A Shadow of Proof 387 

room, yet it seems equally certain that she replaced 
it, as she says she did. Thus, if the stud is really 
not in the room, there apparently could be no other 
explanation than that you are misleading us. * 

** * Us ? Does that mean that you too held the 
view that I merely pretend that the stud was lost ? ' 

** * My dear Madame,* I replied: * such an idea, 
of course, seems preposterous, but a detective can- 
not set aside any theory without thorough investiga- 
tion. In an analysis of this character the personal 
equation must have a secondary place. In this affair 
it could not help us at all. Perhaps you will not 
understand my meaning. But do you not see that 
it is just as inconceivable that either of the other 
ladies should have stolen this stud of yours, as it is 
to believe that you merely pretend that it is lost ? 
From the view-point of the impartial investigator 
there can be no choice between these propositions.* 

** * I must say that you are not very flattering,* 
said she, troubled, as she realized that social position 
could not protect her from suspicion any more than 
it would the other women. * Why, I have my enmi- 
ties, of course, and I frankly admit that I do not 
love either Mrs. Merivale or Mrs. Beaumont, espec- 
ially not the latter. Still, to concoct such a scan- 
dalous calumny against an innocent woman would 
be awful. I could not be so low as that. * 

** * I believe you,' said I, and I did. * But, on 
the other hand, would it not be equally low for 
these ladies, your social equals, to stoop to petty 
theft ? ' 



388 A Shadow of Proof 



Hi 



I suppose you are right,' said she reluctantly; 
* but how did the stud disappear ? Don't you see 
that I had strong evidence against one of them ? It 
was there when they were in the room, and gone 
when they had left. There must be some explana- 
tion of that. What can it be ? ' 

" * Of course,' said I, * there must be, and there 
is, an explanation. The most plausible seems to be 
the one suggested by Mrs. Beaumont, that it rolled 
from the table to the floor when she put it back. It 
seems incredible that two searches have failed to 
discover it, yet it is a small object, and may be 
lying now in some crevice which you all have over- 
looked. ' 

** * I think not,' said she, shaking her head dubi- 
ously. * Suppose you come up and see for yourself. 
You won't find any crevices. Why, we have even 
run wires along the line where the seat and back of 
the lounge are joined. No, the stud is not in that 
room.' 

** And now, friend Barnes, we come to the finale, 
for I may as well tell you at once that I have found 
the stud, — that, indeed, as soon as I looked into 
the room, I suspected that it was within those four 
walls, in a place where no one had thought of look- 
ing, though, to mystify you a little more, I may say 
that it may not have been in the room when you 
made your search. 

'* I inclose with this a sciagraph, that is to say, a 
picture taken with the X-ray. You will observe that 
the skeleton of a small animal is discernible sur- 



A Shadow of Proof 389 

rounded by a faint outline which suggests the form 
of a dog. * If you understand something of anatomy, 
look where the stomach of the dog should be, and 
you will notice a dark spot. This is the shadow of 
the missing stud, which, as Mrs. Beaumont sug- 
gested, must have dropped to the floor. There it 
evidently attracted the attention of Mrs. Upton's 
pet dog, Fidele, who took it into his mouth, with 
the result shown in the sciagraph. You will ask 
how I guessed this at once ? In the first place I 
had perfect confidence in the thoroughness of your 
search, so when I saw the dog in the room, lying on 
a silk pillow, two pertinent facts were prominent at 
once. First, the dog may not have been in the 
room when you examined the place, and conse- 
quently you could not have counted him in as a 
possible place of search. Secondly, he might easily 
have been present when the two ladies called, and 
this was probable since his mistress was lying down 
and the dog's sleeping^pillow was near the head of 
the lounge. If you noted this, you may not have 
comprehended its use ; perhaps you took it for one 
which had slipped from the lounge. At all events, 
I do not consider that you have been at all at fault. 
I had better luck than you, that is all. 
** Very sincerely yours, 

'* Robert Leroy Mitchel. 

** P. S. — I do not myself believe in luck. I must 
also state that Mrs. Upton has sent letters of apology 
to the other ladies. The dog, Fidele, is to undergo 



390 A Shadow of Proof 

an operation to-morrow. One of our most skilful 
surgeons has agreed to regain the stud and preserve 
the life of the pet. A laparotomy, I believe they; 
call it.— R. L. M." 



THE END. 



MfRCANTiiE Library. 

NFW YORK. 



i